Letters to the Editor

Your views in 250 words or less

Tag: prisons

Dec.
23rd

PRISONS: Resist creating more incarceration

I’m concerned with Gov. Jay Inslee wanting to spend more taxpayer funds on prisons in his proposed budget (TNT, 12-19).

Apparently the state is projecting more inmates than previously expected. While overcrowding is certainly something to be concerned with, perhaps the solution is not to make more space for more inmates.

Our violent crime rate is 2.96 per 1,000 (compared to 3.9 nationally). Violent crime is at a 40-year low. Our murder rate (per capita) is at a 45-year low and is roughly half the national average. Crime overall has remained low for past six years. Recidivism rates have

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May
18th

CRIME: Give credit where it’s due

Your editorial (TNT, 5-17) regarding the crime reduction in Pierce County missed an important point: Pierce County is no longer a dumping ground for felons.

In 2007, state Sens. Mike Carrell and Debbie Regala chaired a work group on prison reforms. I was part of that group of more than 50 participants from around the state. I worked with these two legislators to craft that legislation, so I know.

Senate Bill 6157 was the result of our work group and became law the next session. Part of that new law deals with the “county of origin” and requires felons

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May
10th

CRIME: Scarlet letter policy still in force

Re: “Crime and punishment – and then more punishment” (Leonard Pitts Jr. column, 5-10).

Pitts is not the first to note that branding a man a “felon” is the nearest thing to eternal punishment inflictable by any human court. And yes, it’s “unsustainable,” unless, of course, your civic goal is a two-tiered society with an underworld viewed as a government resource.

A visionary approach would be to stop this inhumane system in its tracks and reform it along a more sustainable model. Otherwise, pack your emergency bug-out bag, because you or a loved one may be next. There’s nothing that

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May
26th

PRISON: Bad decision by the Supreme Court

The prisons in California are too congested, according to the 9th District Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, therefore California must free some prisoners or build new prisons (TNT, 5-24).

Most of the federal highways and primary state highways in California are also congested.  Will the Supreme Court now, ipso facto, demand that California build more highways or prohibit some automobiles from the present highway system until the congestion is eliminated?

Prison food and toilet facilities may not suit the French president of the IMF, but they are hardly “cruel punishment.” The courts should abstain from the legislators’ function. They

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April
28th

PRISONS: Fund DOC waste but not clinics for children?

Re: “Bill to release prisoners, cut funding under fire” (TNT, 4-3).

The Associated Press reported that our state Legislature is considering a slight reduction of nonviolent prisoners’ sentences. The prison guard union – as expected – opposes this action. Additionally, the city of Walla Walla formed a “task force” to combat it.

Why such a desperate response? Because if our prison population is diminished, the Department of Corrections is at risk of losing the quarter billion dollars it has been quietly allotted to construct new units and a new prison, despite the fact that a receiving center already exists at

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March
28th

PRISONS: Those life sentences are costly

When state money is so very tight, do we not need to spend it where it will get the best results?

When programs are expensive but yet produce negative results, is it not time that we direct our money elsewhere?

When our “3-Strikes” law was promoted, it was supposed to apply to the “most violent criminals.” On a scale of 1 to 16, we find that some 72 percent of those serving life sentences under this law have been convicted of low-level-4 offenses. Each one of these life sentences has a cost to the taxpayer of at least $1 million.

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March
28th

PRISONS: Few if any ‘creature comforts’

Re: “Cut back on creature comforts” (letter, 3-22).

With a lifetime in law enforcement, the author of this letter should know people are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment. They committed crimes, but they are human beings and should be treated as such.

“Creature comforts” include confinement to a small cell with two or three other humans with no privacy at all. They use the same toilet in plain view, sleep on shelves with the creature comfort of thin mats. They are herded from Point A to B for their meals, mass showers and their hour of exercise.

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Feb.
2nd

PRISON: Guard’s death was preventable

The death of Jayme Biendl at the Monroe Corrections Complex was totally preventable.

I work in corrections as a field officer and understand well the need for high security with these inmates. Biendl was let down by her superiors and as a result lost her life, for what? What savings did the Department of Corrections reap from cutting corners such as this.

Biendl didn’t have to die, but she did because of the desire to save another buck by not having two officers in that chapel and no head count going in and again going out.

Why is

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