ALABAMA'S PRISON OVERCROWDING COULD BE GREATLY REDUCED
----- Original Message -----
From: Aimee Sheffield
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2003 7:32 AM
Subject: letter I sent to editor/you can use on website if you think okay
You already read this...but seemed to fit Montgomery Ad letter to Editor.
Alabama's prison overcrowding could be greatly reduced if the powers that be, including your newspaper, would exhibit courage & consider facts that can be verified.
I absolutely do not advocate releasing serial killers, serial rapists & pedophiles to pray on our citizens; however, inmates who are convicted of other violent crimes, have a good record in prison and served at least two thirds of their sentence, could be released with no threat to society. You can ask any guard, warden, etc., and they will tell you the same thing.
One overcrowded prison did a 'blanket release' & had to contend with the media scaring everyone. Guess what? NOTHING HAPPENED.
Are inmates in wheelchairs or paraplegics a threat to society? Most would agree they are not and aged, infirm, dying inmates could be released to their families. Once someone has experienced life in prison does anyone in their right mind think they want to return?
The 'repeaters' are usually drug dealers/users and robbers - a fact that can be verified. These repeat offenders should be given longer sentences so they hopefully learn their lesson, which cannot occur until a few years have passed - incarcerating people for a year or two does not allow enough time for any real rehabilitation; many people suspect these are what is referred to as "job security" for the Alabama Prison Business and I pray they are mistaken.
The frequency of inmates doing outside work around Alabama towns is viewed as a modern day form of slavery - they work for a 'master', who feeds, clothes and shelters them - and takes profit from the work they do. Others will argue the merits of this program - while there may be some, the larger issue is that this accomplishes very little in the long run as evidenced by a recidivism rate of 70-80%! Alabama is the laughing stock of the nation but even Alabamians say, "Welcome to Alabama - Go to Prison - Leave on Parole", which is a shameful commentary on our beautiful state by its own citizens, who want Justice, Punishment & Rehabilitation to mean something.
Thank you for your attention.