Time well spent

June 9, 2009 

The May 27 article "Inmate had a busy life behind bars" exposed a mind-set that has been the driving force of the disastrous U.S. criminal justice system, which has the highest per-capita imprisonment rate in the world.

The article reported citizen outrage over a nonviolent drug offender who used his time in prison to start a business washing county cars and to sell items on the Internet for prison guards. If a call for outrage is to be found in article, it should be that this man was sentenced to 13 years of prison, with no previous criminal record, for a nonviolent drug offense.

One person was quoted as saying "I pay my taxes to keep them behind bars and that's where they should stay." Is it not better to allow a man seeking redemption to learn the skills he needs to become a productive member of society, rather than keeping him behind bars where making illegal weapons and distilling toilet wine will probably be the only skills he will acquire?

Thomas Vanderbeek


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