Throwing Away The Key: The Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System

 The plight of individuals suffering from disabilities has increasingly become the topic of reform conversation as Americans have sought to create a more equal and opportunistic society. While the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 tried addressed this concern, progress for those suffering from mental disabilities lags behind, preferring to be covered up and silenced by society. Stigmas surrounding mental illness coupled with a general lack of knowledge exacerbate the issue. In particular, reform concerning mental illness within the criminal justice system falls drastically short of providing “clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discriminations against individuals with disabilities” as written in the Disability Act of 1990.[i]

A mix of legal, financial and emotional factors create major barriers to the mentally ill receiving equal treatment within our society. I begin by examining the causes of the current system; from old issues, like deinstitutionalization in the 1960s to persisting issues we see today, like stigmas about mental health. I then propose a two part solution for the United States Congress: how to prevent the mentally ill from entering the criminal justice system in the first place and how to provide care and rehabilitation for those that do end up in the system. Recent tragedies in our nation’s history have brought the issue of mental health care into the spotlight, and it is time we took a hard look at the real solutions to this challenge.

To read more about the causes and solutions to the growing rate of mentally ill in the criminal justice system, go to the following link:

Throwing Away The Key: The Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System 

[i] Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, As Amended, P.L. 110-325., Department of Justice (1 Jan. 2009). Web. 3 May. 2013. <;

Immigration Reform – U.S. Policy v. People (Teaser)

Prosperous nations such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. have always attracted immigrants who are looking for better opportunities. Since the foundation of the United States of America, immigration has been an essential factor to the growth of the nation as well as a continuous source of conflict. This may be the year Congress decides what to do about the millions of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. Continue reading

Reclaim Democracy by Eliminating Corporate Personhood(Teaser)

The concept of corporate personhood can be traced back as early as the 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.   In this case the court did not make a ruling on “corporate personhood” thanks to a misleading note from a clerk; the decision subsequently was used as a precedent to hold that a corporation was a “natural person.” The 14th amendment that was enacted to protect the rights of freed slaves was now being extended to corporations to protect their interests. This amendment was used routinely to grant corporations constitutional “personhood.”  This phenomenon led to “justice’s striking down hundreds of local, state and federal laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm based on this illegitimate premise.  The 14th amendment gave corporations unprecedented “rights” in the form of increased control over resources, jobs, commerce, politicians, even judges and the law”.

As a result of this newfound power, in the form of personhood, corporations have grown in such a manner that they have forgotten the spirit for which they were originally created.  Recent corporations such as Enron, AIG, Nike and countless others are examples of titans that seem to be invincible to the law and the rules set by society.  These companies have shown through their irresponsible dealings with the public, unlawful actions, and risky behavior that modern corporations have shifted to self-interested money hungry tycoons rather than institutions created purely for the public good.  The inordinate power of modern corporations clearly implores action to be taken. There have been acts and reforms suggested in the past, however something more radical and impactful is necessary. I suggest that we revisit corporation’s original purpose and the laws set in place to ensure that corporations fulfill the legal obligations set upon them. 

In this report, I will highlight the problems that come along with corporate personhood and advocate that we revoke this legal doctrine. This will diminish the power of Corporations and return power back to individuals and States.

Embarking on a Life Changing Journey

As graduation approaches, we face a whole new set of challenges and obstacles in our lives. Some of these are self-imposed while others are a result of the various actions of business, government, and society. Over the course of our schooling career we have not been as in tune with the social, economic, and political issues as our elders. Although we have been able to grasp a vague idea of what is going on in the world around us, most of us have little stake in these affairs because we are interested in other parts of life. Hence, with this in mind, the report that I have written seeks to emphasize the importance of the debate on balancing the federal budget that is currently going on. While there are many other pressing issues in this country and in the rest of the world, it is my belief that balancing the budget and its impact on the national deficit will have one of the most significant effects on the current generation entering the professional world. It is my goal that people will take an interest in my report/paper to learn about how their families and themselves are/will be affected by the ineffectiveness of our government and its efforts to balance the national budget.

Removal of Standardized Testing Teaser

SAT optional

Continue reading

Credit Rating Agency Reform

John Moody published the first Manual of Railroad Securities in 1909.  This manual consisted of ratings on 200 railroad companies and their securities.  Moody took this complex bond data and simplified it down into a single letter rating ranging.  Investors jumped at the chance to purchase a list of these securities broken down by risk, cutting down on some of the work these investors would have to do.  Over 100 years later, Moody’s Investors Service now does $2.7 billion in revenue and clears $690 million in net income each year. Continue reading

Childhood Obesity Teaser Post

Childhood obesity has become a severe problem in the United States. Now, one in every three children is considered obese. This problem is especially prevalent in cities, including Baltimore, Maryland. The low socio-economic status of most of its citizens, coupled with the landscape of a city, provide for a high rate of obesity. Race also plays a major role on childhood obesity. African American children are recorded as having higher obese rates than their Caucasian counterparts. Continue reading

The Final Blog Council. Peace Out Bucknell!!!

This week’s blog prompt concluded an interesting end to our semester where our thoughts were provoked and we were introduced to several alternative views on various subjects. Consequently, it is only proper to end with a few more thought provoking questions that pertain to this week’s blog. After reading each post it appears that everyone truly appreciates the well-rounded knowledge that a liberal arts education provides. However, with the increasing demand for a college education along with the increase in college tuition, how do we ensure that society can satisfy this growing demand for the liberal arts?

Perhaps this question may be a bit too much to answer during finals, but it is questions like these that, from taking this class, we will be able ask ourselves. And so without further a due, here are the finalists for this week’s blog council. Enjoy and peace out Bucknell!


Vezina Trophy Presented to…Steph: The first award for the last blog council goes to Steph. She does a great job of not only describing the advantages of a liberal arts education, but also by bringing in her personal experiences. She explains how through her fund raising and networking activities at Bucknell, she has seen how there are graduates from liberal arts institutions that hold positions of leadership in various fields. Finally, Steph does a great job of championing the intellectual thought processes and discussions of a liberal arts education that can only occur in a classroom setting.


Rocket Richard Trophy Presented to…Abby: Abby did a great job highlighting the perks of a liberal arts education. Specifically, she mentions how having a liberal arts education helps one succeed because it causes people to have a wider worldview. She throws in a great quote when she writes, “There has always been a belief that if you can walk a mile in another person’s shoes, and see things from different perspectives, you will be better off.” In addition to this point, she also stresses that, while a liberal arts education helps individuals see things from different perspectives, one must also have the desire to see these perspectives.


And now for the Hart (MVP award for all you non-hockey fans) award of this week’s blog council…


Hart Trophy Presented to…..Matt: Matt had a very interesting post highlighting the benefits of a liberal arts education and how it helps society” “think” in relevant terms. He poses an interesting argument saying that as a society we have abandoned the correct way to “think” about various topics and issues. He does a great job of referencing Cambridge and Oxford and how they encourage thought in order to debate and solve the world’s problems. Great job Matt!



Shifting Viewpoints on Liberal Arts

To be truly free in our society today encompasses a lot of things, and therefore it is difficult to determine if a Liberal Arts education promotes this ideal. I definitely believe that gaining a liberal arts educations benefits society, and gives people a more universal perspective on their lives and the systems in which they live. However I do not believe that gaining a liberal arts educations holds the only key to being truly free in our society today. Continue reading

The Liberal Arts: The most necessary institution we have

A modern “liberal arts” education largely reflects the Ancient Greek ideal of cultivating the knowledge necessary to be free in the society in which we live today – especially when one includes economic freedom. This “freedom,” however, often comes at a hefty price – though it does not require such an expense. A modern “liberal arts” education must be view both in the context of economic and intellectual freedom. Continue reading

Freedom to Question

Reflecting back on my own college education and what I do know as an educator brings me back to the core idea in the prompt: does liberal arts education lead to more freedom?

Going to college (for a Bachelor’s Degree) was just assumed in my household;  like many in college now, there is a societal and generational transfer of the expectations and benefits of higher education.  Both my parents were professionals: my father a physician, my mother a social worker.  However, I don’t recall when we decided I should go to college.  If I had announced I wouldn’t, I don’t think I would have been chucked on the street or anything.

But was I free?  Did I really choose to?  Continue reading

Liberal Arts has Strayed

As I mentioned in a lot of my comments last week, I believe whole-heartedly in a liberal arts education when done right. I think success in all sectors of your life stems from being well-rounded, well-read, and from the ability to critically analyze and defend arguments in a civic manner. That being said, even just re-reading that last line confirms my opinion that I think we have lost all of that. We live in a world where everyone is “specialized,” where most people’s literacy stems from Twitter news feeds and Sparknotes, where civic discourse has been replaced by militant political polarization and ignorance, and where intellectual debate and rationalization have devolved to personal attacks on your opponent’s character or base appeals to your constituents’ emotions. And I think we can see the consequences of this even now. How often do we hear talks, whether between individuals or in the mainstream media, questioning the true value of a college education, especially the liberal arts?  The liberal arts education model has strayed from its original purpose, and I propose that, even in our high tech, modern world, the best way to prepare anyone for a successful life is through a classic, well-rounded education based in the humanities that teaches one how to THINK. Continue reading

Liberal arts: helpful but not necessary


I believe that a liberal arts education is very helpful in order to strive in today’s world. But I don’t think that it is necessary to be successful. First, let’s talk about the advantages of a liberal arts education. A student at a liberal arts university is subjected to a wide variety of disciplines and can receive a broader knowledge base than those who don’t get a liberal arts education. Furthermore, students interact with many different types of peers who are interested in different subjects. This diversification provides the student with a better understanding of the real world, where you will meet people who are very different from yourself. These aspects of a liberal arts education coincide with the Ancient Greek philosophy of skills to help prepare the student for societal expectations. Continue reading

Liberal Arts: A Well-Rounded Learning Experience

A liberal arts education can be said to be an extremely well rounded learning experience. Not only does it introduce students to a wide array of thinkers through various readings and dissertations, but it incorporates the sciences, writing, philosophy, music, and technology in order to create important disciplines. It has been shown to foster creativity, teamwork and leadership skills alike throughout a variety of courses with a variety of learning goals. I’d say the freedom to take these array of courses is something only a liberal arts education from a selective and demanding institution can provide. Continue reading

Liberals Arts the New Greek?

I think the Liberal arts education is an incredible thing, and when its purpose is fulfilled can be impactful. Although, I do not think Liberal arts education reflects the Ancient Greek ideal of cultivating skills to be free in society in all instances, I do think as a rule of thumb college enables individuals to be free in society.

         I think our society tries to make getting a degree mandatory in order to be successful in most instances in life, if you want to be successful school is necessary rung to climb to get to your intended destination.  At first I thought about this question and agreed with Wes and disagreed with the blog question because of individuals like Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates but then I realized the reality of so few individuals who did not college and were successful only proves that college has become a necessary step in attempting to be free or successful in our society.

   Think about our society how many people do you know who are talented and gifted enough not to go to college? Anyone I know who is attempting to be successful is attending some form of college. Where as many people I know who are impoverished,  would benefit greatly from college not necessarily because they are dumb but because our society holds a degree in such high esteem.

 In conclusion, I think college education reflects Ancient Greek ideals in that we assume that college necessitates an opportunity to be successful in our country. I do not think it is the exact same as the Ancient Greek ideals because I assume back then school actually provided people with the skills that they could not have learned elsewhere. I think our culture has just adopted an ideal that getting a degree equals success.

With Liberal Arts Comes Greater Awareness/Appreciation

Let me first start off by saying that I agree that the liberal arts has changed a bit over the past century, but I think the values and lessons that a liberal arts educations provides are still very much the same. With that said and in regards to the first point, I do not think a liberal arts education is required for someone to have an income that is above the equivalent of “wage slavery”. Although I think liberal arts does instill creativity and ingenuity,  there are several people in this world that can or have achieved both of these elements through venturing out on their own and trying new things that are not necessarily tied to the liberal arts. Two individuals that immediately come to mind are Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I know that these are extreme examples, but these two individuals, both of whom did not attend or finish college, embody the creativity and ingenuity that people can achieve without a liberal arts education.

Even though people can live a comfortable lifestyle without a liberal arts education, I do not think that people can truly have a liberal arts education online. I think that one of the most important aspects of a liberal arts education is the face to face interaction with other peers and professors. With these interactions, one is more engaged and is more likely to learn about/take interest in various points of view. Thus, the engagement that is required to really reap the benefits of a liberal arts education can not be achieved online. It is easier to understand someone’s point of view and their reasoning for thinking in a particular way in a face to face setting.

With these two points taken into account, I think that the appreciation for  liberal arts education has dwindled over the last two to three decades. People are so eager to make money and get ahead in the workplace that it causes them to only focus on the field of study that they think will immediately propel them into a good job. As a result of this phenomenon, people have been reluctant to participate in any sort of liberal arts curriculum. This in turn has caused people to be less informed about the world that surrounds them. Hence, I think that if more people took an interest in a liberal arts education, there would be a great awareness of events and issues in the world. This increase in awareness would be seen in an increase in voting and in greater efforts to tackle issues such as poverty and global warming.

White Paper Proposal 3 (GOV)

The Dodd Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act (HR 4173) was signed into law in July of 2010 in response to the housing bubble and recession.  Its goal was to add regulation to a slew of institutions after it was decided that the private financial sector was the leading cause of the crisis.  The bill stands at 848 pages and contains well over 100 different sections.  Continue reading

Imprisoning the Mentally Ill: White Paper Proposal 3

For this last White Paper proposal, I have focused more on the “government” portion of mental health issues in the United States, and their evolution over time using three main court cases. Last week when I was researching, I discovered an article written by the American Civil Liberties Union that listed several court cases concerning mental health including Ford v. Wainwright in 1986, Atkins v. Virginia in 2002, and Panetti v. Quarterman in 2007 (ACLU). Continue reading

Improving Our Mental Health: White Paper Proposal 2

A study conducted in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics listed 64 percent of local jail inmates as having symptoms of moderate to serious mental illness, and while there have been steps taken by legislation to lower this rate, the mental health system in the United States still suffers. Looking at the events in the last year coupled with many of the statistics I found online caused me to change my white paper topic to focus on the state of mental health in the United States. Continue reading