Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jul 2001
Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (AR)
Copyright: 2001 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.
Author: Georgia Lance


Thank you for a thoughtful editorial on the problem of violent offenders 
released on parole, only to do more violence to another victim.

I agree with your basic premise: Don't reform the parole system for violent 
offenders, end it.

Unfortunately, because our prisons and jails are being overcrowded by 
nonviolent drug offenders, this probably won't happen. According to the 
Justice Policy Institute, the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger 
than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska.

Arkansas currently has overcrowded prisons and jails. Because we live under 
a government which has criminalized drug abusers and responsible drug users 
alike, we have increased the number of nonviolent drug offenders who are 
sent to prison or jail. The result is overcrowding.

That means violent offenders are being released to relieve prison overcrowding.

We don't need more prisons, we need to overhaul our laws and quit sending 
nonviolent drug offenders to prison or jail.

Those who need it should have treatment; those who don't should receive 
fines, but not jail time. Simple possession of a controlled substance or 
"paraphernalia" shouldn't be a good enough reason to send someone to prison 
or jail, especially when it results in the early release of a convicted 
rapist to ease prison overcrowding.

Georgia Lance
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