Pubdate: Wed, 19 Sep 2007
Source: Star-Banner, The (Ocala, FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Star-Banner
Author: Kelly J. Muzzy


I am writing in regard to overcrowding of jails and prisons. I will 
narrow it down to Marion County.

Our jail is overcrowded to the point of people sleeping on the 
floors, and expansions being made on a regular basis to accommodate 
more inmates. Is jail the answer?

A lot of these people are in there for violation of probation, of 
recurring mistakes. Why don't we, as taxpayers, help these people 
with their behavior problems instead of throwing them in jail, where 
they can learn more tricks and be a team player with their fellow inmates?

There is a drug and alcohol problem in this town. Many crimes are 
committed as a result of this. Drugs and alcohol affect you like 
this, making you do things that you normally would not do. The inmate 
feels just as bad about himself or herself as we feel about them, but 
they can't change what they have done. Now, it is too late and they 
are looking at a long-term sentence. Is jail the answer?

Why don't we consider helping those who want help, showing them how 
to help themselves, or try to find out what makes them do drugs in 
the first place?

A treatment center would benefit them as well as society. Why don't 
we help get them treatment instead of throwing them in a cage to get 
angrier, or to feel more worthless and guilty?

These people need our help. Most of them don't want to do the things 
that they do, but they don't know how to change, don't have the money 
to get the help they need, or even know where to get the help they need.

The Phoenix House is an awesome behavioral program. We need more of 
these. We need to help these people change their old ways, not throw 
them behind bars for a few months or years to learn more behavior problems.

Kelly J. Muzzy, Ocala
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