Pubdate: Thu, 03 Jun 1999
Date: 06/03/1999
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Author: Gerald M. Sutliff

Steve McLin (letter, May 27) is correct when he says that getting
criminals off the street will make the rest of us a lot safer. Problem
is, many of the most dangerous criminals are not in prison. This is
because many who are not dangerous are behind bars.

The war on drugs is the primary culprit but the "three strikes" law
is a close second. As any first year law student can tell you, the
definition of a "felon" is vague enough to be meaningless and often is
not related to violent behavior.

Keeping non-violent offenders in prison is a certain way to turn many
of them into violent persons. Spending additional millions building
prisons will accomplish little except help Gov. Davis repay a
political debt, provide a few jobs to Kern County and burn up our
surplus tax revenues.

Gerald M. Sutliff