Pubdate: Wed, 13 Oct 1999
Source: Bakersfield Californian (CA)
Copyright: 1999, The Bakersfield Californian.
Contact:  PO Box 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302-0440
Author: Arlene Arnold


I am so incensed by the comments of an earlier letter writer that I had to
write. How could he know the grief and stress parents, mates and children
feel when their loved one goes to prison for 25 years to life for a
non-violent felony?

To top it off, he would bet that just seeing a loved one habitually
appearing in court would be even more stressful. Bull!

For one thing families, especially parents, always have hope -- hope that
their son or daughter will straighten up and lead productive lives no matter
how many times they appear in court. Even if the non-violent offender
repeatedly goes to jail, they will usually have them back in their life in
one to three years. Many repeat offenders don't grow up until they are 35 or

My brother is a correctional officer and he tells me almost all inmates have
alcohol or drugs as their root problem. But they won't seek help for it
until they have been behind bars several times.

We need more mandatory sentences to AA and NA -- both of which have changed
millions of lives for the better. The Salvation Army and Teen Challenge,
etc., do too.

I live in east Bakersfield. On my street, four of my neighbors are in prison
right now. Maybe if the earlier writer doesn't feel safe out here he should
live in prison for 25 to life.

Arlene Arnold, Bakersfield

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