Occupational Licensing Reform Could Help Keep Ex-Offenders Out of Prison

This piece originally appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat. The criminal justice system in the United States is often described as a revolving door –– with good cause. According to a report from the Florida Department of Corrections, more than 60 percent of prisoners released in Florida are re-arrested within three years of release. The offenses with…

What College Football Can Teach Us About Crime

It’s either an exciting or depressing time of the year for football fans. The college bowl season just wrapped up and the NFL Playoffs are in full swing. Wait, this is the Wicked Problems, Wicked Solutions blog, so why am I writing about football? It turns out that academics can learn a lot about the…

Lessons from the Lab: Police Corruption and Law Enforcement

The results of our study are rather intriguing. First, we saw that the presence of police, even when it is corrupt, was much better than anarchy. Second, corrupt police managed to enforce the law no worse than honest police, although, of course,citizens incurred significant costs due to wide-spread bribery.

Social Science Scholar: Research on Human Trafficking in France and Sweden

The information gleaned from these interviews will be used as I continue to write my Honors Thesis, informing my analysis of the impact of the model as it pertains to social norms, prostitution, and human trafficking. This research also serves as a springboard for my postgraduate studies and career in human rights and development. Following my pursuit of a master’s in development studies, I hope to analyze the economic and social incentives that perpetuate human rights violations, such as human trafficking, in order to implement effective development policies that ensure basic human rights.

Americans’ Support for Torture

Our findings are sobering and call into question the extent to which public opinion can serve as a bulwark in the protection of a fundamental, universally-recognized human right.  Indeed, that we were able to observe normatively negative effects with such a “mild” terror cue involving no fatalities or hard evidence of wrongdoing underscores how malleable public opinion can be when threat is raised.  Perhaps more troubling, our results suggest that citizens support for torture can be activated by appealing to an individual’s perception of threat.  Americans’ attitudes toward government torture are malleable precisely when governments are most likely to have an interest in engaging in abuse…under conditions of threat.  Our results suggest that democratic institutions, such as constitutional protections and independent courts are likely stronger safeguards against government torture than public opinion.

For Parents Only — the Dark Side of College and the Path Toward Healing

The first step for parents to help their children navigate the dark side of modern college life is to become better informed. The second step is to show unqualified compassion and empathy. The third step is to help guide our children onto a path toward healing and recovery. Together these steps can build emotional connection and offer buoyancy to young lives otherwise at significant risk of being lost at sea.

The Common Denominator of Mass Violence: Guns AND Men

The United States has a unique problem with gun violence, but the solutions to this social problem are more complex than curving access to weapons of war. If we are truly committed to building a society free from all forms of violence, we cannot limit ourselves to proximal solutions. We must be honest about a fundamental source from which violence emerges in our culture: the socialization of boys and men.

Allowing Access To Marijuana May Help States Fix Their Opioid Problem

One recent estimate from the president’s Council of Economic Advisors finds that the opioid epidemic is costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars per year in the form of lost productivity, health care costs, and costs to the criminal justice system. Some of the rise in opioid overdoses is likely caused by job loss and economic despair, so we may see a decline as the economy continues to strengthen. But the economy is already pretty strong—despite the recent market dip— and opioid overdoses continue to plague many parts of the country. Better access to marijuana is not going to single-handedly fix the opioid problem, but it should be discussed as part of the solution.