Pubdate: Sun,  8 Dec 2002
Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
Copyright: 2002 The Traverse City Record-Eagle
Author: Paul Chartier
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


I thoughtfully disagree with the opinion of the Record-Eagle, Nov. 17. Their
bottom line in "Our view" is that judge Gilbert should resign. I
wholeheartedly disagree for the following reasons.

First, however, I'd like to digress to an earlier article, "GT jail
overcrowding prompts questions of cell alternatives." It states that Grand
Traverse County's incarceration rate is 213 jail inmates per 100,000 of
population; state average is 135." This is nearly 60 percent higher than the
state average. 

"That's how this area is - you screw up, people want you to pay a price,"
said county commissioner Wayne Schmidt. 

"It's sort of a dual-edged sword. Why do people want to live here and move
here - because it's safe. But what people don't realize is what it's costing
them once you see the bad guy taken away in a black-and-white." 

It goes on to say "Judges say they are open to suggestions on reducing the
need for more jail space."

The answer in my opinion is black and white; not all crimes are deserving of
a jail sentence.

OK! I will now tell you why I believe and/or hope Judge Gilbert maintains
his bench. People, everyday people, make mistakes, break the law, and they
hope and pray for forgiveness and understanding that they, beyond "that,"
are good citizens, worthy of redemption. 

Judge Gilbert and all the other GT County judges have been painted with the
same large paintbrush; that they are human beings, no greater or less than
anyone else. Is that a bad thing? Only if they deny they are above mistake.
That would be pompous.

One judge, if returned to the bench, can no longer afford to
indiscriminately throw people in jail without listening to their prayer,
their promise and hope of redemption, thus lowering our above-average
incarceration rate.

Paul Chartier

Traverse City
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