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Letter: Prison Isn’t Supposed to Be Pleasant

To the Editor:

I am at a total loss as to the point Alex Friedmann tried to make in his Dec. 14 letter, “Focus on Prisoners, Not Profits.” Is it that Corrections Corp. of America should not be in business to make money? Is it that Vermont (or any state) should consider prisoner luxuries over fiscal responsibility? Is it that Vermont taxpayers should spend even more money to further accommodate prisoners’ whims?

I am ashamed and embarrassed to say that my family has been exposed to the correctional system and has a relative housed out of state. I am also ashamed and embarrassed of my state and country because prisoners are receiving better health and dental care then I am. They eat better than many working families. They have access to education and self-improvement opportunities and legal advice. All free. So in addition to this, we should also be obligated to make sure they are close to their families?

Consequences — isn’t that what incarceration is all about? A consequence of breaking the law is that you do not get to choose your punishment or where you serve it. You have chosen to violate the rights, safety, well-being or value of someone or something, so, no, you do not get to choose where you serve your punishment.

And what about criminals who commit crimes here but are from out of state? Do we chat with the offender and other state(s) to determine where Mr. Criminal will be happiest? Friedmann fails to inform readers that most prisoners have access to postal services, email and telephone. And, yes, a fee is charged when there is a cost for services. Fees are also waived in many cases. It’s jail! It is not supposed to be free, easy or customized. Improving the prison system would mean making it more streamlined, more unpleasant, less accommodating and less costly.

Crystal Moses

White River Junction

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