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April 09, 2009

Views on incarceration

High prison population in U.S.
In the March 29 Parade magazine, Sen. Jim Webb asks, “What’s wrong with our prisons?” It is reported that “about one in every 31 adults in this country is in prison, in jail or on supervised release

We are overlooking a more important question: What is wrong with our culture that causes one to turn to crime? I wrote to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts seeking his views on the causes for crime, especially with teenagers and young adults. I received no response.

To prevent crime, proper lessons must be learned early in childhood through the schools, homes, neighborhoods, friends and community groups. A continuous appeal to do good must be stressed. A “right living” conscience must be developed.

Sen. Webb encourages one to ask, “Are we doing something very wrong that brings about evil actions?”

Doug Sutherland
Raymore

Put prisoners to work
I have a simple idea to save the government several million dollars and also help solve our southern border problem.

Why not put nonviolent prisoners to work building a wall, preferably 10-feet high and topped with razor wire, along the Mexican border? The prisoners get everything free anyway. No wonder the recidivism rate is more than 50 percent.

This is a win-win situation. The taxpayers get something for their money, and the convicts learn new skills.

Richard Stebbins
Kansas City

Comments

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Coca and Poppy plants still are not drugs, you don't just grind up Coca and get Cocaine, same goes for Poppy. In fact they use Poppy seeds in salad dressing for lands sake. Bell peppers often cause indigestiona nd heartburn, so we shold outlaw them as well? let's get honest about the facts and fiction. The factual data shows that over 90% of all DV cases involve alcohol as at least one catalyst, weed, as a stand alone less than 2%. I would rather see a more prohibitive stance on alcohol than weed. You don't hear of many people speeding while stoned and running red lights in mini vans then killing rookie pitchers. Although we would see the revenue of Frito-Lay and Nabisco increase.

solomon

All drug users are not criminals. Many of them live lives of work, family and church like your best non-drug user. Why should they be imprisoned for their drug use.?

On the other hand there are drug users who are robbers and burglars. Society has a right and responsibility to incarcerate robbers and burglars.

solomon

Engineer,

We saw in the late 19th and early 20th centuries what cocaine and heroin usage could do to our society if available to the masses. There is no equal comparison to the affects of marijuana to these drugs.

Smarter Than You

Request for clarification: of our unfairly incarcerated drug prisoners, how many are in for "personal use?" I agree, in concept, with grow your own in the privacy of your home. Dealing crosses a line. Dealing to kids is an even bigger line.

Another thought: If legalized and taxed, would these individuals play by the new rules?

Just asking. . .

Engineer

solomon
Why not?

solomon

Engineer,

Contrary to medical reports and scientific studies our Federal gov't considers marijuana in the same category as heroin and cocaine. This is a lie told to you by our gov't that you can choose to believe or not.

BTW, although I am against jailing addicts and junkies I do not think cocaine, meth and heroin should be legal substances available to the masses.

Engineer

NM & solomon
I think the "Drug War" has been lost for some time. But what's this "it's a plant" thing? Last time I checked coca was a plant as were opium poppies.

Stifled Freedom

"Why not put nonviolent prisoners to work building a wall, preferably 10-feet high and topped with razor wire, along the Mexican border? The prisoners get everything free anyway. No wonder the recidivism rate is more than 50 percent."

Forcing poeple to work without pay. I think that is called slavery. We already had a little problem with that about 150 years ago. And the feds cant exactly enslave prisoners when the go around saying prostitution is slavery. With a defintion that broad and loose, they would find themselves in violation.

"Go out and tell these morons that drugs are illegal and to stop doing and selling them!" -- chalveyob

The assumption being that they did not already know that? I think they know. They dont care. If that is the best you can do, I would not be calling anyone else an idiot before looking in the mirror.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Drugs are not illegal, so long as you have a prescription. Marijuana is NOT a drug it is a plant just like Bell peppers.
Sol is 100% correct on this.

solomon

I am a "Law & Order" fan. Jack McCoy always finishes a case with a stiff belt of Scotch at his desk.

Marctnts

"It was a joke in the 80s and its still a joke."

I still get a kick out of seeing the old "This is your brain on drugs" commercials.

The funniest part of the "Just Say No" campaign was that after delivering their anti-dope speech, the members of the brat pack usually lit-up a doobie behind the stage.

Marctnts

"Go out and tell these morons that drugs are illegal and to stop doing and selling them!"

Translation: Instead of identifying the root cause behind the problem and finding LASTING ways to address it, I suggest we put the band-aid of mindless compliance over it and hope for the best.

Based upon what I'm assuming his political beliefs are (and yeah, I know the dangers in assuming), I wonder if chalveyob would roll over and "comply" if his guns or religion were threatened.

solomon

Put chalveyob firmly in the column under "stupid brilliant ideas" with his just say no comment.

It was a joke in the 80s and its still a joke.

chalveyob

I have a brilliant idea, why don't you losers instead of whining about how many innocent, non violent people are in jail for drugs. Go out and tell these morons that drugs are illegal and to stop doing and selling them! Problem solved! God what idiots we have in this country!

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Debtors prisons are supossed to be illegal as well. We waste so much time on non-violent ignorant crap. Pot smokers, prositution stings, claimed debtors. Yet when State Auditors find and document fraud by the State in their accounting practices, not one damn thing is done. Morons like Jay NiIxon run and hide as they and their cronies profit from the corruption. Meanwhile families are torn apart, bankrupted and men especially are wrongly jailed. OPPPS! Says the State, we are only human and make mistajes too! This was an actual statement by one of the clowns in Jeff City when confronted about the gross and reckless acounting practices of the State.

Stifled Freedom

The reason we have more criminals is because we have criminalized everything.

Prisons are no longer just places to hold violent criminals. We have many nonviolent offenders in prison who have been criminalized by the mushrooming pace of new regulations on everything.

I heard that something like 50% of the federal regulations on the books in the US were added since 1990.

We need to look into decriminalizing many things like drug possession and prostituion to keep our prisons just for the violent and dangerous offenders.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Our system is bassakwards.
They allow perverts and violent offenders to roam the streets while wasting time jailing pot smokers and men that are wrongly accused of owing someone elses debt.
A system by lawyers for lawyers, go figure.

Marctnts

"What is wrong with our culture that causes one to turn to crime?"

I think Doug needs to refer to yesterday's letter concerning the decriminalization of drug use. Our high level of incarceration is skewed by the large number of those incarcerated for drug use.

A few more facts to sadden you:

-Arrests for drug law violations in 2009 are expected to exceed the 1,841,182 arrests of 2007. Law enforcement made more arrests for drug abuse violations (an estimated 1.8 million arrests, or 13% of the total number of arrests) than for any other offense in 2007.

-Since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown by an average of 43,266 inmates per year. About 25% are sentenced for drug law violations

Kate

“I wrote to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts seeking his views on the causes for crime, especially with teenagers and young adults. I received no response.”

What does this have to do with the rest of the letter? Did the Star edit it beyond coherence, choosing to leave in a cheap shot at Roberts?

“The prisoners get everything free anyway. No wonder the recidivism rate is more than 50 percent.”

I’ve heard of some people getting themselves thrown into the county lock up when the weather turns cold, but I think that stupid choices, old habits, and the feeling that they’re too sly to get caught again have more to do with prison recidivism rates than do free meals and a bunk.

I’m beginning to suspect that when Trudy left she took the bag of sensible letters with her.

 
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