Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Pubdate: Fri, 28 Aug 1998
Author: Marta Glass,  Prison Issues Director, American Civil Liberties
Union of
Texas, Houston

NOTE: In addition to this letter, the Houston Chronicle had a wonderful
editorial cartoon this morning:

The caption is, "The 'dare' program that IS working". It depicts a
child being offered drugs by an older youth saying, "Come on,
shortstuff -- try a hit....I DARE you!"

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Responding to Robert M. Noonan ("Do the crime, sweat it out,"
Viewpoints, Aug. 23) and all others who think Texas prisoners should
have been working in the recent heat emergency instead of "complaining
about it": The fact is, a good many of them were doing just that.

Field forces turn out for work on most units every day. Even the
geriatric prisoners using walkers on the Pack I Unit work outside from
7 a.m. until 11 a.m.

What punishment should we give for drug crimes? Death from the heat
seems a bit severe. Over a hundred Texans have died this summer of
heat-related causes, and none of them was locked in a concrete and
steel box.

It is easy to "think mean and talk tough" until it's one of your
family members wearing a number. With almost 150,000 people behind
bars in Texas, most of us will be touched sooner or later. What does
it say about us as a society when all we seem to consider is revenge?

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Checked-by: Rich O'Grady