Archive for March 27th, 2015

Title: The Quiet Revolution

Author: Ed Barajas

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 110

Genre: Non-fiction/Law

Format: Kindle

This is a different view of our criminal justice system in a way that challenges the negative portrayals from people considered experts. Contrary to the prevailing view of most experts describing a broken and inhumane system, something appears to be working.

For the past twenty years crime has taken a plunge in the US and the experts appear to be clueless regarding the cause. Barajas suggests the reason for less crime is because of an ongoing transformation of the justice system that is more focused on public safety and working in concert with the community and other service agencies.

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Recent news from California suggests that crime has spiked in response to court orders and new policies to reduce prison crowding.  This should serve as a lesson in how bad policy leads to disaster.  Other states are currently attempting
criminal justice reform but should pause to consider some crucial questions.
Criminal justice certainly needs major improvements.  The problem is that the current reform movement is actually an
anti-incarceration effort.  This movement has been active for several years but rather than a systemic approach to reform,
its main goal is to reduce incarceration.  This is like trying to reform healthcare by aiming to reduce
hospitalization.  Just as hospitals are a small part of the healthcare system, prisons are a small part of the criminal
justice system.
Reform efforts are wrong headed because they’re based on a false premise—mass incarceration.  The object is to place
more offenders in alternatives, or community supervision, by using misleading information that prisons are a drain on the economy and needlessly used on the wrong types of offenders.  
Despite rhetoric about “mass incarceration” and calls for “alternative sentences” the major portion of offenders is serving time in an alternative status of community supervision.  About two thirds of individuals serving time are under community supervision. One could say that in this country incarceration is an alternative sentence.  In some states the community supervision population constitutes more than eighty percent of the total corrections population. 
Experts in the reform movement rely on misleading assumptions about safely releasing large numbers of non-violent offenders. Experts provide the answers but we need to ask the right questions.  Should we only incarcerate violent offenders? Should we never incarcerate car thieves, burglars, drug dealers, swindlers and others?  The California
crime spike involves a high number of these types of offenses.
What exactly is a non-violent offender? Is it someone who’s never committed a violent crime? Is it someone convicted of a non-violent crime but with a history of violence? Is it someone who committed a violent crime but was convicted of a non-violent crime because of plea-bargaining? Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion.  Without asking these questions, he’d be considered a non-violent offender.  The point is that sentencing statistics provide only a snapshot of the person’s current offense.
The reform movement thus demands that the system do what it’s already doing and has been doing for decades—incarcerate only a relatively small proportion of offenders.  We’re also told that we should spend more money on education rather than on prisons but the fact is that our country spends ten times more on education than on prisons.  The problem is not too many people in prison.  The problem is the system’s misguided purpose.
The system is never tasked with confronting crime. It processes cases. It reacts to individual acts of criminal behavior after
the fact.  This is what must change. Instead of a reactive system focused responding to individual criminal acts we should have a true public safety model of justice that’s focused on crime prevention and reduction as well as creating and maintaining safer communities.
The good news is that this is rapidly changing.  The advent of community, or problem oriented, policing been very
beneficial to crime-ridden communities.  Its principles 
of crime prevention by focusing on specific crime related problems, have spread to the other justice components during the past twenty years.  Community courts, community prosecution, and
community corrections are now becoming the norm.  This has resulted in a remarkable drop in crime.    
Community courts are now within neighborhoods to respond immediately to “quality of life crimes”.  They sentence offenders to clean up crews and/or drug treatment.  Community prosecutors work with citizens to evict drug-dealing tenants
from buildings.  Community corrections (probation and parole) officers have gotten out from behind their desks to
patrol the streets with police, clergy, and social service agencies to have more effective control of those under their care.     
These strategies have produced remarkable results.  The homicide rate fell 51 percent between 1993 and 2012 from 9.5 per 100,000 residents to 4.7 per 100,000. Property crime also fell sharply during that time. Auto theft dropped an astounding 62 percent. It’s likely that these trends will continue into the future. 
These phenomenal changes in criminal justice are not the result of passing more laws.  The criminal justice system has
changed its operating practices and partnered with the community and other system components.  This is what makes
this truly revolutionary.  Instead of an endless cycle of reform the system has begun to transform itself.    This bottom up change tends to confound those accustomed to top down modification through new legislation.
Reform movement experts remain clueless because they persist in trying to affect change at the legislative and judicial levels.  Meanwhile the criminal justice system continues its quiet revolution.

Ed Barajas retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons after twenty-seven years of service, including twelve years in three maximum security prisons. He began his career as a correctional officer right after graduating from college. He worked his way into management and administrative positions, including ten years with the National Institute of Corrections in Washington, DC. He has been a guest lecturer at universities and has written chapters of criminal justice textbooks and published articles and guest editorials in various periodicals. He and his wife live in North Carolina.
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Historical Romance Kensington March April

The Memory of Your KissTitle: The Memory of Your Kiss

Author: Wilma Counts

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Romance

Format: Kindle
An Untimely Encounter…

When her father falls gravely ill, eighteen-year-old Sydney Isabella Waverly dutifully agrees to marry the earl whose estate borders her family’s modest country home. But on a trip to Bath before she weds, Sydney meets the enigmatic, heroic Captain Zachary Quintin, with whom she feels an unmistakable mutual attraction. Still, they have no choice but to part ways, regretting what might have been. Sydney cannot know that one day they will meet again under vastly changed circumstances, that Zachary will play an unexpected role in her life—and that the man she never forgot still ignites her heart. All that will remain is to find out if he feels the same way…

For More Information

  • The Memory of Your Kiss is available at Amazon.

Wilma Counts

Wilma Counts spent her formative years in Dora, Oregon, a location Germans would call a “dorf” since it was not, at the time, large enough to qualify as even a village. This was in the age of “Leave it to Beaver”, though television reception was not available that far out in the boonies. She attended high school in Myrtle Point, a logging-farming town twenty miles away. Later, she attended what was then known as Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, Oregon (now Western Oregon State University).

Armed with a BS degree in secondary education, she taught English for six years in Oregon (Bend, Astoria, and Gresham). Then she joined the Department of Defense Dependents’ Schools (DoDDS) in which she taught English, world history, and U.S. Government to military dependents, first for one year at the Navy base in Guantanmo, Cuba, then on an Army base in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and finally on an Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany. During this time, she also earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Alabama’s Troy State University. With the troop drawdown in the ‘90s, she seized the opportunity to retire early and returned to the States.

During her stint with the DoDDS, Wilma taught all levels of high school English as well as social studies classes, but most of her work was with 12th grade students. She was English department chair for several years. She especially enjoyed working with students in Advanced Placement English and U.S. Government classes—as well as working with those in the Model United Nations program. For about ten years she traveled every January with groups of 20-30 students to the International MUN conference in The Hague, The Netherlands. She loved her students (almost all of them), but found grading papers to be pure drudgery. She was twice nominated by former students to be included among Who’s Who in American Teachers.

Model United Nations trips was not her only travel with groups of high school students, She also led study tours to England, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Italy, and Tunisia. An exchange program with a school in Ivanovo, Russia, led to two important developments: (1) a humanitarian aid project that ended with American military communities in Germany donating nearly 80 tons of clothing and foodstuff to Ivanovo two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and (2) the Russian school’s involvement with Model United Nations which has since expanded to include schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Wilma has also traveled widely on her own: England and Scotland; most of continental Europe; India and Pakistan; Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia; and just a touch of the Far East—Burma (as it was then called), Hong Kong, and South China. Lots of weekend getaways to France, Belgium, and Luxembourg and The Netherlands. Travel remains a keen interest, though largely of the armchair variety in recent years. She plans a return trip to Germany next year.

You can take the teacher out of the classroom—but not for long! Shortly after retiring from DoDDS, Wilma took a part-time position teaching classes in freshman English at Western Nevada College in Carson City, Nevada. At the same time, she realized a life-long dream of becoming a published writer. Eleven Regency novels and two novellas (all with Kensington) are closely linked to her love of Jane Austen’s work. In addition, she has a novel set in WWII, In Enemy Hands, born of her love of modern European history. She is among the contributors to the ALWAYS LOSTexhibition (currently touring nationwide), a tribute to the sacrifices of men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, Wilma devotes her time largely to writing and reading. She loves to cook, but hates cleaning house. She has never lost her interest in literature, history, and international relations. She spends a fair amount of time yelling at the TV. She maintains contact with many friends from each of those lives mentioned above. She is an active member ofLone Mountain Writers in Carson City.

She considers herself to be the second most computer illiterate person in the universe, but she loves hearing from friends, former students, and readers at wilmacounts@att.net.

Starling by Virginia TaylorFor More Information
Visit Wilma’s website.

Title: Starling

Author: Virginia Taylor

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Romance

Format: Kindle

An aspiring dressmaker, orphaned Starling Smith is accustomed to fighting for her own survival. But when she’s offered a year’s wages to temporarily pose as a wealthy man’s bride, she suspects ulterior motives. She can’t lose the chance to open her own shop, but she won’t be any man’s lover, not even handsome, infuriating Alisdair Seymour’s…

To prevent his visiting sister from parading potential brides in front of him, Alisdair has decided to present a fake wife. He lost his heart once, and had it broken—he doesn’t intend to do it again. But stubborn, spirited Starling is more alluring than he bargained for, and Alisdair will risk everything he has to prove his love is true…

Set against the sweeping backdrop of 1866 South Australia, Starling is a novel of cherished dreams and powerful desires, and the young woman bold enough to claim them both…

For More Information

  • Starling is available at Amazon.

Virginia TaylorVirginia Taylor is an Australian writer of contemporary romantic comedy, romantic suspense, historical romance, short stories, and children’s stories.

After a stint at the South Australian School of Art, I worked for an advertising agency,  re-trained as a nurse/midwife, and then married the man of my dreams. Two children later, I began writing romance. While awaiting publication, I painted and designed various theatre sets with a fellow School of Art graduate.In 2013 I sold my first novel-length story.

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Visit Virginia’s website.

Connect with Virginia on Facebook, and Twitter

The Ghosts of Peppernell ManorTitle: The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor

Author: Amy Reade

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Romance

Format: Kindle

Do you know what stories Sarah could tell you about the things that happened in these little cabins? They’d curl that pretty red hair of yours.” 

Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger…

For More Information

  • The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor is available at Amazon.
Amy ReadeThanks for visiting!  I grew up in Northern New York, just 30 miles from the St. Lawrence River.  I live in New Jersey now with my husband, three kids, dog, and two cats, just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean.  I love being near the water, whether it’s a river or an ocean or just a stream.  My favorite place on Earth is Hawaii, where I’m surrounded by the blue waters of the Pacific.I also love wine and music.  You’ll find wine recommendations on this website from my latest favorites, as well as playlists to go along with my books.Please visit my blog at http://amreade.wordpress.com/

I am on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

I am on Twitter @readeandwrite

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