December 20, 2007

News roundup

Scot freed after 20 years

This story hasn't been getting much press in the United States, but it's been a topic of interest in Europe. Kenneth Richey of Scotland has spent 20 years on death row in Ohio, exhausting round after round of appeals for a crime he insists he didn't do. Finally, a plea bargain has been reached in which he will plead no contest to involuntary manslaughter and be home in time for Christmas.

Europeans had been outraged at the conditions of Richey's confinement, which are ho-hum here in the prison nation. Said one Scottish official who visited Richey:
"The reality of somebody who is kept locked up in a cell for 23 hours a day for 19 years is quite mind-blowing. It is a dreadful, inhumane and dehumanising system. If one man is off it, then remember there are hundreds [sic!] of people in America still enduring that dreadful situation."
The London Times has more.

Children electroshocked (roll over, Stanley Milgram)

A prankster has outdone experimental researcher Stanley Milgram by a long shot, telephoning a school for the severely disturbed and easily convincing school officials to shock pupils up to 77 times each!

The prank is highlighting the fact that the Massachusetts school, Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, routinely administers electroshock as punishment. The school is the only one in the United States that does so; the device's inhumanity is concealed by the clinical-sounding name of graduated electronic decelerator.

ABC News has the story here.