Is Saying Sorry Better than Prison?

To deal with young criminals, Northern Ireland has been experimenting with something they call the "Youth Conference." Instead of sending kids who commit assault, theft, or "motoring offences" to a prison, the government sends them to a meeting. There, the young troublemaker is asked to give an account of the offense, and the victim, who is usually present, is invited to ask questions and describe the effects of the crime. Then they decide, together, with the help of a professional coordinator, on a "plan" to make things right. This usually means doing unpaid restorative work and giving a face-to-face apology.You might think this lets wayward teens off easy if all they have to do is apologize and do a little manual labor. But a new report (.pdf) on the effectiveness of these Youth Conferences just came out and the results are remarkable:More than 5,500 meetings between victims and offenders have taken place in Northern Ireland since 2003.... Some 38% of 10 to 17 year olds participating in the scheme in Northern Ireland in 2006 re-offended within a year, compared to 71% of those given custodial terms. The percentage of those re-offending where restorative justice was used instead of a prosecution was 28%.In a report, the PRT said many victims were found to prefer the experience of participating in a restorative justice meeting to attending court.In Northern Ireland, this system has turned out to be better than prison in every way. It reduces recidivism, saves the public the expense of locking a kid up, and victims actually like it better. There's now talk of expanding the system to England and Wales.We should be adopting this approach in America-and expanding it to other kinds of crime as well. Our prison system is at a breaking point and revenge is overrated.

McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

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For over 20 years, our country has perceived itself as more divided than united, and it's not getting better. Right after the 2016 election, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 77% of Americans felt the country was divided on the most important values, a record high.

The percentage of Americans who agree that we disagree got higher. During the 2018 mid-term elections, a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 80% of Americans felt the nation was "mainly" or "totally" divided.

We head into the 2020 presidential election more divided than ever. A new poll from USA Today found that nine out of ten respondents felt it was important to do something about the conflict in our country. We can't keep on living like this forever.

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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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