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T'ed Off
This letter is to express my outrage at the poor taste that Westword used in placing a picture of our First Lady, Wilma Webb, over the picture of Mr. T in the August 8 Off Limits. Peter Boyles's comments on KTLK were crude and disrespectful; the characterizations, even on the radio, are totally unacceptable to me and black women in this community. The paper made the horrible visual presentation.

My concern is the decision of your paper to add insult to injury by stooping to the lower depths of racial and ethnic insult by picturing our First Lady as a man; you become more than just a messenger reporting the news of some talk show. But it is a contradiction of reality. We know that this is not a true picture of Mrs. Wilma Webb, with her commitment and dedication to the many causes for good in this community. I blame Westword and feel the paper should take full responsibility for the false characterization/character assassination that you created to present to the Denver community. I am outraged because of the insensitivity that this picture gives to our First Lady and to black women.

How long do we have to live with this type of sexism and racism?
Dr. Faye Rison
Denver

After listening to Peter Boyles's radio show and reading your story, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. T is the most reasonable person to play the part of Wilma! I just feel sorry for Mr. T.

Louis Martinez
via the Internet

Pros and Cons
Building the San Carlos prison for the "mentally ill" was insane. Even more insane are the plans to double its size. As Karen Bowers reported in her July 25 story, "I'm a Con, You're a Con," there is no data to suggest this triple-the-cost prison will reduce criminal recidivism. In fact, numerous studies report the opposite is true.

For example, a thirty-year follow-up study of 500 individuals found that those who received psychiatric counseling were worse off in regard to criminal and antisocial behavior than the participants who received no "treatment." This study also reported that of those who did commit a crime, those who had been in the psychological program were more likely to reoffend.

Psychologists claim "medications" given San Carlos inmates will curb their criminal impulses. Again, the reverse is true. A controlled prison study discovered that physically aggressive acts increased by 360 percent when inmates were placed on psychotropic drugs. Studies reporting that psychiatric treatments and drugs can increase criminal and violent behavior are routinely published in psychiatric journals.

San Carlos psychiatrists have protected themselves from the violent reactions their drugs can cause with locked cells and leather restraint beds. Unfortunately, when these inmates are released with their thirty-day supply of drugs, Coloradans have no such protection!

The skeletons unearthed on the state mental hospital grounds during construction of San Carlos are not the only ones in psychiatry's closet. Psychiatrists knew their "treatments" would not reduce criminal recidivism when they demanded funding for their new experiment.

Psychiatry has the responsibility to inform our lawmakers of the facts. Had this happened, San Carlos would not have been built. The taxpayers must not be forced to fund the expansion of this travesty!

Mark Stout
Denver

The recent articles by Karen Bowers about infirm and aged prisoners in the Department of Corrections ("I'm a Con, You're a Con" and "Bad Ol' Boys," August 1) were right on! I am almost fifty, and I have recently been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. I have been in prison since 1978. Is there a realistic shot at a special clemency or conditional pardon or commute for me so I can spend my final days with my wife, who has stood by me all these years? I am getting the best care I can get medically, but in the worst facility in the system for any kind of dignified treatment or administrative assistance.

I wasn't sentenced to death! Time is running out in the ten months to two years the doctors have given me. I would really like a chance not to go out like just a piece of meat in a locker. I would like a bit of dignity on the way out.

Jerry Gimmey
Denver

Deep in the Heart of Texas
Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Lone Stir State," in the August 8 issue:
There appears to be an unwritten rule that corrections officials never endorse what an inmate says but instead make it appear that he and his family lie about all things regarding prison conditions--whether it be Colorado or Texas contract facilities. This response only reinforces the public's attitude that all inmates are snivelers and whiners.

Prison officials act much like the man who beats his wife, then gives her jewels, furs and unlimited credit cards and tells her to stop sniveling because she's got it so good. Whatever a prisoner complains about, the DOC takes the opposite stance, often contributing to life-threatening situations.

Each taxpayer must remember that his life can change in a split second and that he, too, could be dealing with the "system" and a prison sentence. One drink too many, causing a vehicular homicide; someone's child with the wrong people--in the wrong place--and a drug bust takes place. Only then will people understand what prisoners are subjected to by their "keepers." Prisons are not cushy places or country clubs.

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