Pubdate: Sun, 12 Dec, 1999
Source: Casper Star-Tribune (WY)
Copyright: 1999 Casper Star-Tribune
Fax: (307) 266-0568
Author: Eric Mechalke



In regards to Gov. Jim Geringer's spending plans for the state pen, he has
stated that: "The public debate over whether there ought to be more leniency
with the prisoner is a troubling one".  It is interesting to note that some
were quite skeptical when Arizona voted to stop incarceration of drug users.
However, the Supreme Court of Arizona has stated that Arizona taxpayers
saved $2.6 million in one year and that 77.5% of drug possession
probationers tested negative for drug use after the program.  Geringer goes
on to state: "My view still is the number one requirement is public
safety."  The Supreme Court of Arizona also made comment on the issue of
public safety: "The Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act of 1996"
has allowed the judicial branch to build an effective probation model to
treat and supervise substance abusing offenders ...resulting in safer
communities and more substance abusing probationers in recovery" (SUPREME
COURT OF ARIZONA Drug Treatment and Education Fund Implementation Year Full
Report Fiscal Year 1997-1998).

Unlike the Governor, I am only troubled by the lack of public debate. Seems
to me the public has been hoodwinked to into a failed policy that has not
protected our children from what it claims to. Until we change this failed
policy, we should expect nothing less then to cut education funding to build
prisons. We should expect corruption at all levels and we shouldn't be
surprised to read about mass graves in Juarez Mexico.
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