Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jan 2001
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2001 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Contact:  400 W. Seventh Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Author: Steve Helms


How did seven men escape from prison in Texas and a massive manhunt start?

Don't blame the correctional officers at the prison. Blame drugs.

If the Texas prison system concentrated on incarcerating truly violent 
criminals instead of nonviolent drug-law offenders, it could decrease most 
prison inmate populations by at least 10 percent, leaving more correctional 
officers to watch fewer, truly violent criminals.

It is obvious when looking at the facts that the war on drugs (which some 
high-profile people say is not really a war) has failed and that different 
tactics are needed: more education, more treatment facilities in prison and 
out of prison, and new laws on how addicts are treated in our correctional 

Don't blame the correctional officers. Blame our Texas system of justice 
for nonviolent drug offenders and, ultimately, Texas legislators and those 
who elected them for the escape of these violent criminals.

Steve Helms

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