Pubdate: Fri, 01 October 1999
Source: Bakersfield Californian (CA)
Copyright: 1999, The Bakersfield Californian.
Contact:  PO Box 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302-0440
Author: Richard S. Mara


When I voted for the "Three Strikes Initiative," I thought it would be used
to make my community safe from violent criminals, but it seems to me, the
enforcement of the "Three Strikes" law targeted the non-violent drug user
and low income, non-violent felon offenders.

Our prisons are packed with the wrong people! We have locked them away for
20 to 30 years for relatively minor drug possession or non-violent felony

One of the oldest tenets of Western civilized society is that the punishment
should fit the crime, and yet we, as law-abiding, tax-paying citizens feel
no remorse for these thousands of people we have locked away in prison. What
about drug rehabilitation and meaningful vocational education and jobs?

We have violated these "Three Strike offenders' human rights as well as
their civil rights and in doing so have harmed ourselves. A great American
wrote a 100 years ago: "The law of changeless justice bind oppressor with
oppressed, and close as sin and suffering joined, we march to fate abreast."

They are in prison, but we put them there.

Richard S. Mara, Bakersfield

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