Compelling documentary “It’s more expensive to do nothing” reveals link between child abuse and life of crime

Just over a decade ago, I spent a summer volunteering in the women’s facility of the San Francisco County Jail. I led a support group for women and did basic case management work. Most of the women were in for drug offenses, prostitution, or both. Some were in for fighting or stealing. Two women were locked in private cells for attempting to light their mother on fire after stabbing her over 30 times. They were high on methamphetamine at the time.

I interacted with two populations on the jail floors, the inmates and the prison guards. Although I experienced them as two distinct cultures, they nevertheless seemed to share the same understanding of the nature of criminal reform: rather than just “talking the talk,” the reformed criminal was capable of also “walking the walk.” Guards and prisoners alike would nod knowingly when these pat phrases were used to describe an inmate’s likelihood of breaking out of the cycle of continual recidivism that swallowed the potential of most prisoners in the San Francisco County Jail.

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Roundup: More about growing healthy brains; more research kudos for meditation; is this how NOT to help those who are depressed??

It’s Brain Awareness Week! The Dana Foundation has a short overview of the thousands of celebrations around the world. And check out the cool brain art. Our nod to the festivities is a link to yesterday’s video that Jenna Bush Hager did on the Today show: “Why a good day care matters.”

She profiles a teenager with two kids who languished in day care where they were being neglected. She interviews Dr. Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, who does a great explanation of how neglect actually shrinks and dissolves the connections between neurons in a kid’s brain. She ends the story with an interview with Susan Buffett, Warren Buffett’s daughter who founded the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. Buffett provides a happy ending. Too bad this video isn’t on YouTube!

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