Pubdate: Mon, 30 Sep 2002
Source: Fayetteville Observer-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2002 Fayetteville Observer-Times
Author: Lonnie Rochelle


With the approval of Senate Bill 1367 this year, Columbus, Green and Bertie 
counties will now give land to the state for the construction of more prisons.

Last year, our governor signed a contract to pay hundreds of millions to 
build three new prisons that are under construction now, giving our state a 
total of 81 prisons. The money was borrowed from an out-of-state lender and 
the contract awarded to an out-of-state builder.

Also, our governor has challenged Judge Howard Manning's constitutional 
court order: That our state must invest in our at-risk students.

This challenge being at the same time as the approval of hundreds of 
millions for prison construction should raise questions in every moral and 
ethical mind.

Statistics show that our existing prisons are now above capacity with 
nonviolent, petty and simple drug offenders due to the overzealous 
prosecution of nonviolent habitual felons and structured sentencing.

The facts alone present the question. Do we sincerely need even more 
prisons while dramatically cutting education, or could we more 
appropriately utilize our existing prisons?

The assurance we have from these facts is that our at-risk students of 
today are guaranteed an institution of learning tomorrow. Prisons!

Lonnie Rochelle

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