Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jul 2002
Source: Tuscaloosa News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Tuscaloosa News
Author: Reggie Mitchell


Dear Editor: I have been to many prison camps and centers within the past 
two years. There are so many inmates and so few personnel. Yes! Safety for 
correctional officers, staff members, and inmates is important. Something 
must be done. However, I don't think that limiting or discontinuing 
visitation to inmates will solve the overcrowding problem. In fact, it may 
cause more problems if the inmates are not allowed to visit with family 
members on a regular basis. Next, relocating inmates to another state will 
also be problematic. Talk about long distance travel and telephone calls. 
Personnel will have to pay for transporting, housing, and meals. Why give 
our tax dollars to another state? Moreover, family members will have to 
spend too much money to visit with a love one for such a short visit. This 
is where judges and elected officials can use a bit of creativity. Instead 
of immediately sending a person to prison, judges should consider other 
possible alternatives, such as, probation, halfway homes, house arrest, 
military, etc. I personally know of a young man that was sent directly to 
prison on a first offense drug charge. In this case, probation should have 
been an option. If judges continue not to give a second chance, prisons 
will remain overcrowded. In closing, judges and elected officials please 
use a bit of creativity before sentencing. Correctional officers and family 
members will thank you for help. Let's be creative!

Reggie Mitchell

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