"People don't necessarily want statistical analysis. They want security for their children -- real or imagined." (Rep. Jim Clements co-chairman of the Legislature's Sex Offender Management Joint Task Force, "Sex offender ban debated by task force Panel considers residential limits, 'protection zones'. Tuesday, September 27, 2005, Seattle Post-Intelligencer).
Research irrelevant? Legislation through fear? Your kidding right? Perhaps, I am being unfair?
My journey to homelessness began well before any task-force debated with ad-homonym arguments about the benefits and results of sex offenders legislation and schools. The statistics are plain, there exists very little correlation between a sex offender living next to a school and their propensity to commit a crime. (see ..[ day two ]..Re-arrest Less Likely for Sex Offenders ). But who cares, right?
If government was Corporate America policies made under crises, or the perception of crises, would most probably fail the most lenient of post implementation feasibility studies. Being, in and out of Washington since 1996 working as a consultant for Corporate America, it wasn't until I became within the criminal justice system, and recognize that Washington has built an infrastructure of processes that allows itself to operate immediately under crises, perceived or not. It only take an hour of watching TVW, and you immediately see state government at work.
But there sill exists a question of the impact of reactive government, which has a "best-practice" of first developing legislation, then through some form of post legislation feasibility studies, determine whether the polices have meet the ends of the gaol. Thus, allowing for minimal use of impact studies in making well informed decisions along with the much necessary vigorous and responsible governmental debate?
There is no question that Corporations, such as Microsoft, which can and react on a dime, the much reaching human impact on failed policy is not within a policy makers discretion, for failings in governmental policy has a greater effect on its people than that of a private Corporation for profit.
When looking at public policy, of which I have have some limited experience, working as a city counsel appointed business liaison for a Gay and Lesbian Task Force on gentrification in Portland, Oregon, when I came into the criminal system in 2004, I was a wide-opened trusting individual that relied on the scales of justice to be levied evenly. Reviewing a recent article by Adam Platt a senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine on some public policy issues, I found the following blog quote appropriate, "A proactive government would look to fix things long before they become a threat to the public health and safety. A reactive government would at the very least attempt to fix things when the writing was on the wall. A 'do nothing' government will take whatever advice is needed to further their point of view." (quote from Adam Platt is a senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine blog stevemarsh August 06, 2007 at 05:43 PM).
While in jail dealing with the many violations that resulted in a Civil Action Law suite against the DOC of Washington, I had a once brief discussion with a visiting social worker. In our discussion we talked at length about the impacts of governmental policies well after the "feel good" of legislation has occurred. I think blogger stevemarsh has perhaps identified a litmus test of sorts.
"If the theory is wrong, then so will be the practise." (unknown).