Pubdate: Thu, 06 Nov 2003
Source: Phoenix New Times (AZ)
Copyright: 2003 New Times, Inc.
Author: Iris Ortega


I really enjoyed your article. It baffles me
how Governor Napolitano would propose a prison plan for $700 million
(to house more nonviolent prisoners) being that a high percentage of
our prison population is just that -- nonviolent -- when there is a
tax reform being proposed to resolve the state's $800 million deficit,
and the education budget has been cut. Why does Arizona as a state
have a "tough on crime" attitude, when the majority of prisoners are
first-time offenders? What happened to deterrence? Why not punish
first-timers so that they are more prone not to re-commit these
nonviolent crimes?

There is a cost associated with rehabilitation programs, and
education, but the reality of the situation is they want more money
either way, whether it is for rehabilitation, or more beds for the
overpopulated incarceration system. The state should spend more money
on education, rather than punishment, yet they fight for the same
money. The reality of the whole situation is this: We need to look at
cause and effect relationship.

If you educate, there is a better chance that the overpopulation in
the prison system would be resolved -- fewer people going to prison.
If you buy more beds, you are still faced with the fact that you most
likely will be buying more beds in the future, and you are still faced
with the question of "what are we doing wrong as a state that our
people are being incarcerated, and our prisons are still

Iris Ortega,

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