Pubdate: Thu, 7 Jan 2010
Source: Evansville Courier & Press (IN)
Copyright: 2010 The Evansville Courier Company
Author: Ray Andersen


The criminal justice system in this country is broken. We have a
greater percentage, by far, of our population in jail than any of the
other western democracies in the world.

We sentence more persons to the death penalty than any other western
nations. The percentage of adult, black males in our prison system is
a national disgrace and a disaster.

As I've argued on these pages previously, we need to decriminalize the
possession of drugs for personal use and legalize, plus tax, their
proper distribution.

We need to treat drug addiction as the medical problem it is and not
as a criminal matter. We need to put more emphasis on rehabilitation
rather than punishment. After all, when it costs the citizens of
Indiana as much to keep a person in prison for a year as it does to
send someone to any state university for a year (including room and
board, books and fees) we need to be thinking more about how to keep
people out of, or returning to, prison.

All of that being said, I have no objection to just feeding prisoners
twice a day as long as they receive the proper nutrition to sustain
their health and well being. After all, when I was in the U.S. Army in
the 1950s they only fed us twice on Sundays.

However, it is important that cutting back to two meals a day is not
perceived as punishment since our goal should not be to harden the
attitude of prisoners toward society. It's obvious that some prisoners
can never be returned to society, but those who can need to be
provided with the tools, including a positive attitude, that will
enable them to hopefully become productive members of society.

After all, if a member of our family or a friend's family should
happen to land in jail, how would be want them treated?

Ray Andersen

Ray Andersen is a resident of Newburgh. 
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