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Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Comment on Our Prison and Law

8th December 2011
Dear Cassi,
The other day one of the supervisors came down and shot the breeze with me and we got on the topic of prison time. It just so happens that there is a crippled man in our area known for assault with a knife. He was last sentenced to three years, but was let out in three days.
It was George Remero who wrote “when there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Well when the prisons are full dangerous folk will walk the streets.
Here in the state of California we have “the three strikes and you’re out” law. Yes, like many states in the union, we pattern our laws after baseball. Due to this law people have gone to jail for twenty five years for stealing a hand full of cookies. No joke, a hand full of cookies and twenty five years.
In the grand scheme of things it cost the state more for every hour that man would be in prison than the whole of his theft is worth. I do believe it is the goal of our system of justice to let the punishment fit the crime. I think in that regard we have failed.
Then the question must be asked if we call the prison system the Department of Corrections then should not a person be corrected by their third felony? Have we not failed this unfortunate folk who it has become our responsibility to correct? Perhaps we punish the taxpayers who flip the bill for their imprisonment.
I know not what would be the best way to correct the damaged minds that fall into the traps of concrete and bars, but I do know that we can do better.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal