The open line and daily video. Plus: a comment on 'justice reform'; and Common Core | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The open line and daily video. Plus: a comment on 'justice reform'; and Common Core

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 3:23 PM

Here's the Tuesday open line and daily video roundup. Also:

* UNIMPRESSED WITH ASA: Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen writes on his blog about Gov. Asa Hutchinson's recent announcement that he needs $7 million more dollars to open more prison beds than already planned. Sound like criminal justice reform to you? It doesn't to Judge Griffen.

$7.4 million dollars for prison beds won’t stop people from using drugs. It won’t treat drug dependency. It won’t provide jobs for people who’ve been incarcerated. It won’t prevent the children and other family members of the 200 people who will occupy those beds from being more likely to slide deeper into poverty, become more socially, nutritionally, and culturally vulnerable. It’s just another exercise in misguided policy-making under the guise of criminal justice reform. It's an excuse to build more warehouses for people who are chemically dependent and mentally ill, although not dangerous, while complaining we don't have space to put people who are truly dangerous (killers, armed robbers, rapists, and otherwise violent).

There is nothing reformative about repeating old mistakes no matter who champions doing so. Arkansas needs more people in school, not jail. We need more classrooms and teachers, not prison beds and guards. We need more treatment facilities for people to access who are chemically dependent and for people who suffer from mental illness. We need an approach to mass incarceration that doesn’t more incarceration, but involves education, job training and re-employment, affordable housing, and effective public interventions with people and families who are chemically dependent.

* COMMON CORE: Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, deputized by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to come up with a work-around on controversy over the Common Core curriculum, is quoted by AP as saying the task force appointed by the governor will likely recommend some changes and a name change to make it more aligned with the state's desires. In other words: A cosmetic makeover. The Waltons and other powerhouses WANT Common Core. So they'll just rebrand it. This has been a sham from start to finish and has been made an un-democratic sham in the process by the closing of select deliberations of the task force, which has somehow been imbued by the governor and his henchman as having more expertise and time on task than the state Board of Education, which has worked on it for years. You thought Bill Clinton could triangulate? You just hadn't met Asa and Timmy. The task force meets Thursday. I hope reporters on hand will demand that the meeting to decide recommendations is held in the open start to finish, particularly if the new member of the state Board of Education, the Family Council's Charisse Dean, remains on the task force. UPDATE: AP says Griffin has said the meeting will be open.

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