Monday, November 23, 2009


For years I have believed our justice system is a mess - not because lawbreakers go free.

The purpose of the American justice system, as I understand it, is three fold, first to properly identify lawbreakers, secondly to ensure restitution and last reform lawbreakers into law-abiding citizens.

None of the three missions fails more miserably than the last. Rather than working toward reformation of law breaking behavior the penal system punishes (or attempts) to punish the inmates by locking them away and perhaps a stiff fine. Punishment does not deter undesired behavior.

Gang members view jail and prison time as a right of passage and flaunt their time with tattoos designed to advertise to others the time they have served. Time served in the legal system strongly reinforces the 'us them' mentality of both lawbreakers and law-abiding citizens. Lawbreakers believe strongly in a conspiracy against themselves and believe all citizens value law breaking and further believe those in the mainstream society are some how able to avoid jail time due to their ability to avoid being caught.

Precious little is done to assess lawbreakers for mental illness, teach life skills or career skills and actually reform their behaviors.

Psychology has found positive reinforcement to be stronger than aversion treatment (aversion treatment is providing a negative experience for unwanted behavior) yet politicians and special interest groups continue to push for longer prison terms and, even more appalling, to punish youth as adults. Statistically these harsher punishments have not been found to deter future crime by the offender nor others.

These flaws in our justice system are the tip of the iceberg; the innocent are convicted and the guilty go free, organized crime continues with little control from law enforcement etc. I don't expect a perfect justice system but I do expect the penal and justice systems to be held to the same standards demanded in science.

Let the public demand our justice system reform rather than punish law breakers. Let us demand the techniques used for reform be scientifically sound rather than emotionally and politically driven.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I've been thinking about the difference between the way mood and anxiety disorders were treated in the Victorian era and the way they are treated in our 'modern' age.

In the Victorian era people called periods of severe anxiety or mood trouble 'spells' and recognized life stressors, inheritable factors and disposition as contributors.

In today's age we understand there are several factors which may contribute to mood and anxiety disorders including genetics, thoughts, beliefs, life stressors diet and exercise. We call periods of severe anxiety or mood trouble 'break downs.'

In the Victorian era anxiety and mood disorders were treated with vacations, walks, spring water and time spent with family and friends to support the ailing individual.

In our 'modern' society the treatment is a pill and therapy. Your insurance company will cover only a limited number of sessions based on how long it takes the average individual with a disorder of the same severity and type to feel better. If you need more sessions you can apply for more and a stranger you have never met will determine if more therapy is necessary. If it can proved you are a danger to yourself or others, eg you are going to maim or kill yourself or another person, then you will be hospitalized for as limited a period as possible until you are no longer a danger. The major task of the health providers during your hospital stay is to find the right combination of medications to stabilize you.

Our 'modern' age contains some benefits in mental health treatment I would miss in the Victorian era, medications have a place in treating the mentally ill just as they can help a person with a thyroid conditions. Therapeutic techniques have improved and developed in the last two centuries and mental health problems are beginning to gain understanding from the general public. In the Victorian era many people did not have time to have mood or anxiety disorders because they were too busy trying to survive.

I am concerned by the lack of preventative treatment exercised in today's world. Whys is it necessary to be a danger to self or others in order to receive intensive treatment? Wouldn't insurance companies and employers be better served by healthy employees? Isn't there a benefit to paying an employee to take time to resolve mental health issues?

I've been wondering, that's all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cat food

I've been feeding my two kittens Fancy Feast canned cat food since I first brought them home this summer. The canned food makes their fur so shiny and silky but at least one of them gets occasional diarrhea.

So I did some research online and found one of the recommended brands is Halo. The big problem with most cat foods is that they contain grain or grain products both are known to cause digestive upset in cats. Halo is grain free and the price is comparable to what I am already paying for Fancy Feast.

I finally finished up the Fancy feast last night and opened the first can of Halo brand "Spots Stew" this afternoon. I opened two cans of lamb stew, it looks like baby diarrhea and smells like peas and I can see peas and small pieces of carrot in it. So far Chloe has spent half an hour trying to bury it. I'm not sure if she is saving it for later or get rid of it ha ha!

I'll see how much of the stew is left tomorrow and try the other two 'flavors,' I may be returning to the store.

(Just a side note; my cats eat ten times better than I do and I'm pretty sure I spend as much on their food as I do on mine! LOL)

A little about me...

My friends would describe me as intelligent, loyal, a good listener and gregarious. I prefer to be with a small group of friends because I feel overwhelmed by all the stimulation of a crowd. In a crowd of people I am the one standing next to my friend smiling shyly and having trouble making eye-contact.

I work in the investment world but I am studying to be a licensed professional counselor. I graduate with my Master's degree in Psychology in January 2010. As of today I am 90% certain I will continue my education by pursuing my PsyD. I am deciding now whether I want to apply for Fall 2010 or 2011.

Last year I purchased my first home and a brand new car. I'm living in my new place in Rose Park. I KNOW everyone thinks Rose Park is the area you move if you don’t mind being robbed but it’s really not! My house was built in the early 50’s and I've put in a lot of work and it still needs a lot of work. It’s on a beautiful tree lined street and if you check you’ll find the older area of Rose Park is safer than a lot of the city. I love living in my own place!

I have two birds. Bronte is a green cheek conure I've had for four years. Oscar is a white capped pionus I've had him a little over a year. I assume both my birds are male but I don't know because their species do not sex differentiate and I don't want to bother testing them. I also adopted two kittens this summer. Chloe is a medium haired siamese looking cat and Peter, her brother, is a cream tabby.

Yes the cats stalk the birds and I have to be careful with them interacting. Oscar holds his own quite well with the cats and will actively chase them, it's pretty funny to see a 8 lb cat running in fear from a not much bigger than it's head.

I am a romantic at heart, creative and girly but also enjoys gardening, camping and being outdoors in general. I relax by doing something creative like painting or coloring.

I have decided not to attend church for now and am not sure if I will go back anytime soon. I was raised LDS and attended faithfully until I was 23. I believe there is a loving God and see his hand in the world around me. I believe my purpose for now is to be a good and loving person.