Grayheads in prison

❝ Prison populations are shrinking, reflecting a decade-long movement by states to enact policies that reverse corrections growth, contain costs, and keep crime rates low. At the end of 2016, fewer people were held in state and federal prisons than in any year since 2004.

But despite this overall reduction, one group in prisons is surging: older individuals. From 1999 to 2016, the number of people 55 or older in state and federal prisons increased 280 percent. During the same period, the number of younger adults grew merely 3 percent. As a result, older inmates swelled from 3 percent of the total prison population to 11 percent…

❝ Like senior citizens outside prison walls, older individuals in prison are more likely to experience dementia, impaired mobility, and loss of hearing and vision. In prisons, these ailments present special challenges and can necessitate increased staffing levels and enhanced officer training to accommodate those who have difficulty complying with orders from correctional officers. They can also require structural accessibility adaptations, such as special housing and wheelchair ramps.

Additionally, as the Bureau of Justice Statistics found, older inmates are more susceptible to costly chronic medical conditions.

Yup. The cost of warehousing grayheads ain’t as cheap as anyone else the man considers noisy, dangerous.

Diesel ban approved for German cities

❝ German cities will be allowed to ban older diesel vehicles from some areas following a landmark court ruling.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig said the cities of Stuttgart and Duesseldorf could legally ban older, more polluting diesel cars from zones worst affected by pollution.

The ruling sets a precedent for other cities and analysts said it could lead to similar action across Europe…

❝ The ruling by a top federal court came after German states had appealed against bans imposed by local courts in Stuttgart and Duesseldorf…

The likelihood now is that the German government will rush to introduce some sort of national policy, to ensure at least some level of consistency across the country.

I imagine some US cities and states will take the lead here to step out ahead of an incompetent Congress and a White House that pimps for 19th Century industrial standards.

Federal fossil fuel-well cleanup may exceed $6 billion. Guess who gets some of that tab?

❝ “Cleaning up the tens of thousands oil and gas wells on U.S. federal land after they stop producing could cost over $6 billion, and taxpayers may need to pitch in, according to an analysis of state and federal data commissioned by a conservation watchdog group.” The analysis by consultancy ECONorthwest on behalf of the Center for Western Priorities, estimates the potential reclamation costs for the 94,096 oil and gas wells now producing on federal lands at $6.1 billion. The study pointed out the figure is likely several times higher than the amount the government has collected from oil and gas companies for the purposes of well reclamation – and taxpayers could be liable for some of the difference.

Our politicians remain as thoughtful as ever about passing along expenses from their corruption. To taxpayers.

Bird gets lost — spawns a new species on a remote island

❝ If you get lost at sea and find yourself on an island you’d probably try to build a fire, pile some sticks and stones into a makeshift home and maybe even try to signal for help. When one misguided bird found himself in the same situation, he didn’t wallow in his own self pity; he created his own entirely new species.

RTFA. I’ve been hanging on to this one for a spell – and it’s fascinating.

Japan has a drug that kills the flu in 24 hours. Why doesn’t the U.S. have it?

❝ This has been an especially deadly flu season here in the U.S., but a new breakthrough medication promises to kill the flu virus in 24 hours. The catch: It’s only available in Japan.

On Friday, officials in Japan approved the single-dose drug, known as Xofluza, for use in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal. In a clinical trial, Japanese and American patients who took the drug when they had the flu saw the virus wiped out, on average, in 24 hours.

❝ Xofluza is manufactured by Japanese drug maker Shionogi and won’t hit shelves until at least May — again, in Japan. According to the Wall Street Journal, the drug won’t be available in the U.S. until at least 2019.

When it does show up in our pharmacies, any bets on how the price here in the GOUSA will compare to what Japanese patients pay?

2008-2016, 35 states cut imprisonment and crime rates simultaneously

❝ After peaking in 2008, the nation’s imprisonment rate fell 11 percent over eight years, reaching its lowest level since 1997, according to an analysis of new federal statistics by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The decline from 2015-16 was 2 percent, much of which was due to a drop in the number of federal prisoners. The rate at which black adults are imprisoned fell 4 percent from 2015-16 and has declined 29 percent over the past decade. The ongoing decrease in imprisonment has occurred alongside long-term reductions in crime. Since 2008, the combined national violent and property crime rate dropped 23 percent, Pew’s analysis shows.

❝ Also since that 2008 peak, 36 states reduced their imprisonment rates, including declines of 15 percent or more in 20 states from diverse regions of the country, such as Alaska, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Connecticut. During the same period, almost every state recorded a decrease in crime with no apparent correlation to imprisonment (see Figure 1). The latest data, released Jan. 9 by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, show that trends in crime and imprisonment continue to be unrelated…

Not that anyone expects Trumplets to claim any credit for results directly reflecting changes during Obama’s two terms in office. Nope, our Republican priests will have to write new dogma which makes this effect somehow the result of some new sort of crime measurement.

Of course.