Pubdate: Thu, 07 Sep 2006
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2006 St. Petersburg Times
Author: A.P. Gibbs
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


Your Aug. 28 editorial Dangerously crowded misses the mark. While
swifter judicial action could help alleviate the crowding at the
Pinellas County jail, your other prayer for more cells is misguided.
What we need to do is to quit putting so many people in jail.

This country has a greater percentage of people in jail than any other
civilized country in the world. Most of the inmates are not violent
criminals. A large percentage are in jail for drug possession and
parole violation. Over half the people in federal prisons in this
country are serving drug-related sentences.

Many judges are coming up with alternative sentences like house arrest
and community service instead of jail sentences. These judges are to
be commended. However, we often have tied their hands with mandatory
sentences set in law by our Legislature.

I say, enough already! Let's quit putting nonviolent people in jail
and quit building jails. The money could be better used to provide
better schools, higher salaries for teachers and better health care
for children and older adults.

A.P. Gibbs, Esq.

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