So far, we don’t have a sure answer for how to convince parents to choose vaccines. But that’s not to say we don’t know how to increase vaccination rates. We do, and it’s through force. The two states with the highest vaccination rates are West Virginia and Mississippi, and they achieve this with strong public health programs and mandatory vaccination laws with strict standards for exemptions. Neither state, for instance, allows religious or philosophical exemptions to vaccine requirements for schools. Either you vaccinate your child, or she doesn’t attend class.
The pharmaceutical industry is large, wealthy, and prone to bad behavior. That some Americans would respond to this with deep distrust of the medical establishment isn’t unreasonable, and that some of this would turn into fear of vaccines isn’t absurd. But while vaccine-anxious parents deserve our empathy, that doesn’t mean they can dictate the health of the public.—Slate
Given the importance of digital connectivity in today’s world, maybe it’s no surprise that cell phones have joined drugs and weapons as the contraband of choice in correctional institutions all over the country. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has seized more than 30,000 cell phones from state facilities since 2012. In 2013 alone, Florida’s corrections department confiscated 4,200 cell phones from the state’s prisons. Sometimes, contraband phones trickle into prisons one by one; other times, they arrive all at once. A single 2013 raid on a medium-sized prison in East Texas netted 45 cell phones and 52 chargers, which had been buried in an underground cache for retrieval.
Jails and prisons are supposed to be technological dead zones. In all but the laxest minimum-security facilities, cell phones are banned for inmates, as are personal laptops, tablets, and other Internet-connected devices. Federal prisons have implemented CorrLinks or TRULINCS, e-mail systems that allow inmates to send monitored messages to pre-approved contacts. But the wider Internet remains off-limits. In many prisons, the most up-to-date device approved for ordinary inmate use is the pay-phone.
Under the surface, though, America’s correctional institutions are buzzing with illicit tech activity. Some inmates use contraband cell phones to send selfies and texts to loved ones. Others use Facebook and Twitter to complain about their living conditions, and organize collective actions with inmates at other prisons. Inmates’ desire for access to the bounty of the Internet – and correctional officers’ desire to keep those tools away from them – has created new tensions on both sides.—Fusion