Tag Archives | criminals

Scientific Study Shows That Psychedelics Can Cut Criminal Recidivism Rates

Pic: DEA (PD) [Thanks for the nifty illustration, DEA!]

Pic: DEA (PD) [Thanks for the nifty illustration, DEA!]

Here’s one to drop on your hardcore anti-drug friends and family members. Note that this study was conducted by the University of Alabama and the John Hopkins University School of Medicine – not exactly a “pro-drug” fringe group.

Via Raw Story:

A study of more than 25,000 people under community corrections supervision suggests the use of psychedelic drugs like LSD can keep people out of prison.

The research is the first in 40 years to examine whether drugs like LSD and “magic” mushrooms can help reform criminals.

“Our results provide a notable exception to the robust positive link between substance use and criminal behavior,” the researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote in their study, which was published in the January issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

“They add to both the older and emerging body of data indicating beneficial effects of hallucinogen interventions, and run counter to the legal classification as well as popular perception of hallucinogens as categorically harmful substances with no therapeutic potential.”

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Banks brace for €1.7bn EU fines over Libor

a_drop_in_the_bucket

I don’t know about you, but this seems like a public ceremonial slap on the wrist for some people who should be thrown in prison.

via The Telegraph

Some of the world’s biggest banks are to be “fined a record €1.7bn” (£1.4bn) by European authorities to settle allegations of rigging benchmark borrowing rates used to set the price of trillions of dollars of financial products, according to reports.

The European Union competition authorities could announce the penalties as early as Wednesday, with up to 10 banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale, expected to settle cases, according to the Financial Times.

EU officials have been investigating claims that several large banks attempted to manipulate yen and euro-denominated Libor rates as part of an international probe.

Deutsche Bank and RBS are said to be facing fines for manipulating both rates, while other banks will settle claims related to just one of the rates.

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Violent Behavior LInked to Nutritional Deficiencies: ‘Their Brains Are Starving’

criminalbrainMore scientific evidence that the problem of violence is one that must be approached from multiple perspectives.

Via MedicalNewsToday:

Deficiencies of vitamins A, D, K, B1, B3, B6, B12 and folate, and of minerals iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, chromium and manganese can all contribute to mental instability and violent behavior, according to a report published in the Spring 2013 issue of Wise Traditions, the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

The article, Violent Behavior: A Solution in Plain Sight by Sylvia Onusic, PhD, CNS, LDN, seeks reasons for the increase in violent behavior in America, especially among teenagers.

“We can blame violence on the media and on the breakdown of the home,” says Onusic, “but the fact is that a large number of Americans, living mostly on devitalized processed food, are suffering from malnutrition. In many cases, this means their brains are starving.”

Keep reading.

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The Drug War’s Effect On Bodies And Minds

brokenglassfaceVia Brooklyn Rail, Jason Flores-Williams, a defense lawyer whose father spent sixteen years in prison on drug charges, on the influence of the War on Drugs on how we think:

There are two kinds of power and the drug war’s got them both in spades. The first is we’ll-kick-your-ass power. If you don’t go along with our vision of things, then we’re going to throw you in jail and try to ruin you. It’s the kind of power we think of when we think of China, except that when it comes to the prison-industrial complex we’re actually more repressive than they are.

The second power is foundational to all other forms of power: the power to make people doubt and dislike themselves. All we have to do is look in the mirror to know that the drug war has been an absurdity. Have you ever used drugs? Are you a felon who deserves to go to state prison for it?

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Bastoy: Norway’s Island Of Freedom For Prisoners

bastoey-prision_noruegaDer Spiegel takes a look at the resort-like island that houses some of Norway’s most hardened convicts — they are given a wide berth to do as they please, but must complete their work and behave civilly, or risk being shipped back to regular prison. Is this how criminal rehabilitation could be done here?

No bars. No walls. No armed guards. The prison island of Bastøy in Norway is filled with some of the country’s most hardened criminals. Yet it emphasizes self-control instead of the strictly regulated regimens common in most prisons. For some inmates, it is more than they can handle.

The warden is a man who deals in freedom. He is also a visionary. He wants the men here to live as if they were living in a village, to grow potatoes and compost their garbage, and he wants the guards and the prisoners to respect each other. What he doesn’t want is a camera in the supermarket.

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Margarita Island: Venezuela’s Party Prison

jp-04venez1-popupSuppose prison was fun? Venezuela’s San Antonio prison houses 2,000 convicts, including many foreigners from around the globe, mostly convicted on drug charges. They can do anything they want, except leave — there are pool halls, dance parties, swimming, drugs, guns, gender mixing and unlimited visitors. Crazy, yes, but is it any worse than what we have here? The New York Times reports:

Bikini-clad female visitors frolic under the Caribbean sun in an outdoor pool. Marijuana smoke flavors the air. Reggaetón booms from a club filled with grinding couples.

Prisoners barbecue meat while sipping whisky poolside. In some cells, equipped with air-conditioning and DirecTV satellite dishes, inmates relax with wives or girlfriends. (Venezuela, like other Latin American countries, allows conjugal visits.) The children of some inmates swim in one of the prison’s four pools.

Luis Gutiérrez, the warden at San Antonio prison, refused to discuss the prison he nominally oversees. Renowned on Margarita Island as a relatively tranquil place where even visitors can go for sinful weekend partying, is in a class of its own.

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Texas Blocked From Debuting Controversial New Lethal-Injection Cocktail

ap_texas_execution_cleve_foster_nt_110405_mnThe state of Texas will have to wait until another day to try out a newly formulated death-inducing mixture which critics say could cause agonizing suffering. Cleve Foster, a Desert Storm veteran convicted of the murder of a woman he’d met in a bar, was scheduled to be executed tonight; this afternoon the Supreme Court blocked his execution for reasons including “questions related to his guilt.” The Atlantic Wire elaborates:

Foster has maintained his innocence for years, writing that he is “on death row waiting to die for a crime another man has confessed to.” He’s referring to Sheldon Ward, who was convicted alongside Foster in 2004 and has since died in prison of a brain tumor.

The drugs the state would have used to execute Foster–a cocktail of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride–have never been used in a Texas execution before.

If the cocktail doesn’t work properly, says Stafford Smith, director of the human-rights organization Reprieve, then during his execution, Foster will experience “excruciating pain that has been likened to having one’s veins set on fire.”

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How Two Bumbling Stoner Kids Became The Pentagon’s Favorite Arms Dealers

efraimdiveroli00_guns_local_embedded_prod_affiliate_56It sounds like the plot of a John Hughes ’80s teen comedy. Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz were a pair of underachieving kids from Miami (interests: football, “whisky”, and “chilling with the boyz”) until, as part of the privatization effort, they somehow landed a $300 million contract from the Bush administration to provide ammunition for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Then things soured: greed pitted the friends against one another, all they could give the military were defective, Chinese-made munitions from Albania, and now Diveroli is in jail. Rolling Stone has the barely-believable saga:

Reassured by the e-mail, Packouz got into his brand-new blue Audi A4 and headed home for the evening, windows open, the stereo blasting. At 25, he wasn’t exactly used to the pressures of being an international arms dealer. Only months earlier, he had been making his living as a massage therapist; his studies at the Educating Hands School of Massage had not included classes in military contracting or geopolitical brinkmanship.

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What Do Assassins Want? Fame And Notoriety

Corbett Coors III 1961In light of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, NPR looks at a secret serviceman’s landmark 1999 study on the psyches of political assassins in America. Rather than ideological extremism, a desperate hunger for importance and immortality was what motivated most would-be assassins, who typically were individuals with failed, messy lives. And if they thought they could achieve fame by knocking off a political leader…they weren’t crazy, they were correct:

It’s well known that in March 1981, John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. What is not well known is that several years later, the life of President Reagan and the life of his vice president, George H.W. Bush, were threatened again — in fact, not just once.

“In the space of 18 months, four situations came to the attention of the Secret Service,” says Robert Fein, who in the mid-1980s worked with the Secret Service as a psychologist. Two were convicted, and two were sent to psychiatric facilities, Fein says, though the government didn’t exactly advertise it.

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