Prison overhaul slow-going

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, criticized a lack of progress since Hickman’s previous confirmation in 2004 to head the old prison agency. He was appointed in November 2003, following Schwarzenegger’s election. Romero’s Select Committee on the California Correctional System is holding hearings to determine whether the Senate Rules Committee recommends that the 25-year corrections veteran be confirmed. She and other critics spent the four-hour hearing outlining the department’s failures, as Hickman and Undersecretary Jeanne Woodford highlighted the agency’s progress. Romero and Hickman distributed competing documents outlining their positions – then sharply criticized each other. Romero dismissed Hickman’s “glossy, pretty pamphlet,” while he accused her of reducing the agency’s problems to media-friendly “sound bites.” Many of the headline-grabbing problems that confronted the agency two years ago aren’t issues now, Hickman said: a videotaped gang battle at Folsom State Prison and beating of two wards at Stockton’s N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility; an endemic “code of silence” that punished whistle-blowers and rewarded guards who abused inmates. Hickman and Schwarzenegger have strengthened the internal investigation and discipline system, said the state’s auditor and inspector general. Yet the parole system is “still a billion-dollar failure,” said Donald Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office that has forced changes through repeated lawsuits. Romero criticized the high recidivism rate and the department’s $1 billion cost overrun last year due to a population increase it failed to foresee. While the department does well at its most basic mission of containing inmates, it dragged its feet on efforts to keep them alive, Specter said. Inmates were dying of medical neglect at a rate of about one a week, Specter said, citing the conclusion of an irate federal judge who ordered changes in December. And it took repeated court orders before the department began requiring guards to try to resuscitate inmates who attempt suicide. Yet the fault is not all Hickman’s, Specter said. The corrections secretary is overruled by other agencies and lacks sufficient staffing and money even with a budget that increased by $2 billion in two years. Reforming such a massive, entrenched bureaucracy from within might not be possible and could require additional court oversight, Specter said. Hickman said his department alone can’t rehabilitate inmates, which would require the cooperation of local governments and community and faith-based social organizations. “We are building the foundation for sustainable change,” he said. “These efforts will not happen overnight.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – A massive overhaul of California’s prison system is barely under way and may take years to show serious improvement, Corrections Secretary Roderick Hickman told state senators Thursday as they began considering whether he should keep his job. “Are we rehabilitated? No. We are on the road to recovery,” he repeatedly told senators in various ways during an often contentious hearing. “What we have embarked upon will take time, effort, money, and it will take the will to see it through.” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Hickman on July 1 to head the new Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which combined the adult and youth prison systems in the largest reorganization in state history. Senators have until this July to confirm his appointment to head the nation’s largest state corrections system, one that consumes $8 billion of the state’s $125.6 billion budget. “We are literally changing the tires on a moving car,” Hickman said, and the benefits of last summer’s retooling are just beginning to surface. last_img read more

Nature journal to begin offering doubleblind peer review

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Nature Peer review could reject breakthrough manuscripts, study shows Well known and respected journal, Nature, will begin next month offering researchers who submit their work for peer review, the option of having it done via the double-blind method—whereby both submitters and reviewers names are kept anonymous. In an Announcement piece, the journal explains why it has chosen to take this step and what it hopes to achieve by doing so. Citation: Nature journal to begin offering double-blind peer review (2015, February 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-nature-journal-double-blind-peer.htmlcenter_img Up till now, the peer review process at Nature has been conducted in single-blind fashion—reviewers could see the names of the authors of the work, but the authors (and everyone else) were not able to see the names of the reviewers. As Nature points out, there have been many calls in the science community for changing the system over the course of the past few years because of a perceived bias by reviewers—due to gender for example, or reputation.Single-blind reviews have become the norm for two main reasons; the first is because of the perception that reviewers would be hesitant to be completely honest in their reviews if they know ahead of time that their names will be attached to their work. The second is because of hesitancy on the part of respected journals to offer a service that they do not believe they can fully ensure—sometimes, it is not that difficult to figure out who an author is because of the small numbers of people working in a particular field, because they cite themselves or because their work is already so well known. As part of its announcement, Nature has said that ensuring the anonymity of researchers going forward will fall to the writers of the papers.Others have called for open reviews, where the names of both writers and reviewers are printed, but few in the research community seem to be interested in such a scheme. Nature claims that double-blind reviews are wanted by researchers—they cite an international study done back in 2009 where 76 percent of researcher respondents indicated that they felt that double-blind reviews were an effective reviewing system. Nature will allow researchers who prefer to stick with the single-blind system to do so if they prefer, but the default will change over starting at the beginning of March. At this time it is not clear if other major journals will make the switch as well. © 2015 Phys.org Explore furtherlast_img read more