Pubdate: Tue, 25 May 1999
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Gerald M. Sutliff


Without doubt, the parole of Larry Roman Lavell from San Quentin
Prison was a tragic error in judgment by the parole authorities
("Arrest in S. Bay manhunt," May 18). These kinds of tragic mistakes
are inevitable in any kind of parole system.

Nevertheless, perhaps if our prisons were not overcrowded, Lavell who
has pleaded guilty to double homicide would have been given closer
scrutiny before release. Punishment for the likes of him is not
relevant. However, protection for society is.

The supreme irony is that thousands of non-violent offenders, mostly
drug  offenders who pose no threat to anyone except themselves, have
no hope of  parole. Our governor plans to spend money building a huge
prison in Kern  County, in part to alleviate prison overcrowding and
in part to reduce unemployment in Kern County. Also he will do so in
no small part to repay his

political debt to the prison guards' union for their early endorsement
and financial support.

All that is kosher-enough politics, but the drug convictions are
driving the  prison system out of control.

Gerald M. Sutliff Emeryville

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