Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Changing Minds About Sentencing Policy

How does significant change in a society’s operative perceptions come about?

Heuristic devices for explaining this are not in short supply. A generation ago, Thomas Kuhn talked of the structure of scientific revolutions. More recently, Malcolm Gladwell has popularized the notion of a “tipping point.”

And then there is the noted educator Howard Gardner, who published a book called Changing Minds seven years ago. He offers seven “levers of mind change,” of which the fourth is “representation redescriptions.”

The reason I originally launched this blog 2 ½ years ago was to focus on such redescriptions of a reformed criminal sentencing system. Now real world events (another Gardner lever) like gaping budget deficits increasingly call costly incarceration into question.

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