Pubdate: Thu, 06 Feb 2003
Source: Wausau Daily Herald (WI)
Copyright: 2003 Wausau Daily Herald
Author: Travis Kurth


Editor: I would like to bring to the community's attention a problem that 
has gone on for far too long. The state's courts hand down just and 
reasonable sentences only to have them ignored by county jail staff members 
and the Probation and Parole Department. Because I am only 17 years old, 
the court sentenced me to one year in jail with four years of probation 
(which is fair in my case) with requirements that I get my high-school 
equivalency diploma, attend drug and alcohol counseling and undergo anger 
management treatment. I have spoken to numerous people, including 
corrections officers and my probation officer, and have written to the jail 
administrator, about attending these programs and have so far been denied.

Since the jail won't offer such programs, I believe that if an inmate has 
work-release privileges, he or she should be allowed to attend 
court-ordered programs outside of jail to obtain the skills necessary to 
become a productive member of the community upon release. If we have to 
wait until we are released without those skills, we are doomed to repeat 
the same mistakes and will easily fall into drug addiction or alcoholism or 
crack under the pressures that our old ways and life on probation place 
upon our shoulders.

Until county jails provide inmates with such rehabilitation programs, we 
should be allowed to attend court-ordered classes so we are prepared to 
return to society.

Travis Kurth

Lincoln County Jail, Merrill
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