Friday, August 10, 2007

In Response to "Texas Behind Bars: An Unlearned Lesson

This article was interesting because I think that many people do not even think about prison's long term consequences. I definitely think that prison is not something that should be taken away, I do not think that it is useless and that no one learns from prison. Prison is not a pleasant place, and I know that many people go to prison and never want to go back, and therefore change their ways. I think the aspect of the article was a little extreme, the idea that prison's are not succesful, because a lot of the time they are, but it is very true that tons of prisoners do not learn their lesson and will continue to go to jail over and over again. I think that the most important way to solve crime is to stress education. Starting with children, education is the best way to lower crime and poverty rates, and I think that with an increase on the importance and funding of education will help these children and young adults make the right decisions. I don't think that trying to change people by sending them to a place that will try and force them to change their life instead of prison will be very helpful. I think that if anything the prison should in classes teach the prisoners about their options when they get out, a little about employment and what to do when they are released. I think that pointing out options of better choices and making the prisoners not lose hope will help. I also think that it is very important not to push them so hard because adults already have very narrow-minds compared to children, and no one wants to be told what to do. I think that prisoners should be "educated" on how to turn their life around, rather than sent to rehab facilities. Overall, I think that education starting at a young age is the best and most efficient way of changing lives.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Safety Over Intentions

It has been almost a year since the red-light cameras were activated in Houston, Texas. These cameras have always been a controversial issue among Houstonians. Do the red-light cameras actually lower crash rates? Are the cameras only approved to make a profit?
Many Houstonians argue that the only reason legislators approve these red-light camera systems is to make a profit, rathen than for safety reaons. These people have the attitude that they are paying tickets to a government who only cares for profit and not for the safety of the citizens. Is there truth in this argument? It´s a definite posibility. "Between September, when the first 10 cameras went up, and June 30, the Department collect about 3.5 million in revenue. The program has cost about 1.5 million, leaving about $2 million to pay for other public safety programs." (1) Thats a large profit, and that is only in the first year. The department expects to collect $7 million in profits next year. Of course these profits are not invisible to legislators, but the more important question is do these cameras create a safer driving environment? If these cameras lower crash rates, the intention behind them is not very important. More people are injured in crashes involving red light running than in any other crash type. So obviously, red-light running is a problem. From 1994-2005, red light running violations decreased 73% in New York City (2), showing that these cameras are effective. Also, Red light running accidents decreased 30% in the year after red light cameras were installed in Baltimore County , Marlyland. (2). If these cameras are proven to work, then it should not matter if the intention behind them is the profit. Lives are being saved. Also, a new bill has been passed to give half of the camera profits to state trauma centers. Overall, these cameras are proven to work, and althought profit maybe important to legistlators, safety is important to everyone.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Speed Warnings?

According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, their is legislation trying to be passed that will set up cameras on Texas highways to monitor cars that are speeding. Previously this year there has already been a bill passed against this type of technology to catch speeders. This $2.5 million dollar project is intended to "[look] at technology to see how useful it may be to let us test or change speed limits", and there is no plan to give speeders tickets, just warnings. The article link is After reading this article I concluded that this bill should NOT be passed. To me it is not worth $2.5 million dollars to "see how useful it may be" to use this technology. What if the technology is not useful? It would be a waste of $2.5 million dollars that could have been productively used elsewhere, as well as a lot of time spent installing these camera's, sending warnings, etc. The highways that are going to be used in this project were Highway 6 and I-10, both of which I can say with confidence that there are many people who speed, as well as many people who receive tickets for speeding. The speed limit on these highways is usually 70, and because many people disregard this speed limit anyway, I think that a higher speed limit would be even more dangerous, and a lower one would be ineffective. Also sending warnings to speeders will not stop them from speeding, so this project would not stop drivers from speeding, if anything it would make them slow down where they new the cameras were. Overall, I think that this money could be used better elsewhere.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Health Insurance for Children

As I was going through different blogs/websites on my blog roll, I saw that there were a lot of articles on children's health insurance and a bill to increase the government funding for children's health insurance. Currently, the program CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) is funding children's health insurance, and there is a bill to renew this program, which would approve $35 billion in funds, which would be paid for by an increase in the tax of cigarettes. There is debate though whether this bill should be renewed: some problems including its shift of billions of dollars from the private funding to government funding, and disagreement with the increase of tax on cigarettes. Because there were many articles on this subject, I think that it is important in the current news. This is a link with basic information on the argument: