Pubdate: Sun, 30 Apr 2000
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2000 St. Lawrence County Newspapers Corp.
Address: P.O. Box 409, Ogdensburg, New York 13669
Author: Joanne Monnet
NOTE: Accepts LTEs by mail only! Must be signed w/phone#


Dear Editor;

Mr. Robert Merkin’s 04/23/00 letter to the editor is about as accurate as it
gets. It is time we take a serious look at the current prison expansion and
what we are really gaining.

I have also read the 04/10/00 Newsday article “The Town that loved Prisons
pays a very stiff Price”, and I am inclined to believe it as my family is
from the Malone area and they claim that prosperity there really hasn’t
increased that much since the addition of three prisons, actually Malone has
recently lost three businesses Ponderosa, IGA, and Agway.

According to a recent report by the Justice Policy Institute, the US prison
and jail population topped two million for the first time on February 15,
2000.  With that astounding total, this country has amassed the largest
prison population, as well as the highest incarceration rate on earth.  With
just 5 percent of the worlds population, the U.S. has a quarter of the
worlds prisoners.  Also alarming is the Institute’s study noting that in the
last two decades, state spending on corrections across the country increased
by 100 percent while spending on higher education decreased by 6 percent.

I would prefer that we focus our energies on bringing in more industry and
promoting tourism, as these avenues would be far more progressive socially
and in the long run economically.

Joanne Monnet, Ogdensburg, NY
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