Pubdate: Mon, 15 Dec 2003
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2003 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: William K. Handy


I found Vincent Schiraldi's Dec. 7 Op-ed article "Finding the key to
prisons" a strong, rational appeal to revamp our criminal justice
policies. He pointed out that our mentality and methods for dealing
with criminals aren't working, which means taxpayer money is being
misspent. While reading about the dozen states that have reduced
prison populations while making moves to change sentencing and
treatment policies, I found myself surprised that North Carolina was
not among them. Jumps in the state's prison population, the opening of
several expensive prison in recent years and no real change in
recidivism or new offender rates should have all of us scratching our
heads in wonder.

Then I thought, "Maybe North Carolinians like throwing hundreds of
millions of dollars in taxpayer funds away for overpriced prison-site
land and criminal justice policies that do not work." I'm still left
standing dumfounded asking "Why?"

William K. Handy


(The writer is an inmate at Harnett Correctional Institute, serving a
life sentence for first-degree murder.)
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