Letters to the Editor

From the week of January 6, 2005


About Your Boozepaper

Trouble everywhere: Gee, what's a girl to do? Westword, you did a great job trashing the booze queens of Tri-Delt in David Holthouse's "Girl Trouble," in the December 16 issue, but I couldn't help but notice the cover of your New Year's Eve Guide insert in the same paper. Apparently the coolest and hippest chicks of Denver spent New Year's Eve passed out on a hardwood floor. Oh, well, at least she was pleasantly pliant and wearing a really sexy pair of heels.

Maybe I should check with the other really cool chicks advertised in one of your five-plus pages of fuck-me ads. They probably know how to handle booze.

The next time you so accurately target the making of monsters, perhaps you'll also be big enough to acknowledge your own culpability in their continued glorification.

L. Knowles
Littleton

Girls just wanna have fun: I was curious if anything was ever done to the third girl responsible for the horrible things done to Ms. Armstrong. I am very proud that she stood up and said something.

I cannot believe the actions of children these days. And I use the word "children" on purpose, because obviously these girls hadn't grown up -- and if they hadn't been caught, who knows what they might have done?

Charlotte Downs
via the Internet

Easy does it: When I was in school, Tri-Delt used to be called "easy, easy, easy." I'm thinking now it should be "stupid, stupid, stupid."

Diane Greene
via the Internet

Maximum Exposure

Cost-conscious: Thank you for Alan Prendergast's "Maxed Out," in the December 23 issue. The cost in human life and potential -- not to mention the cash cost to taxpayers -- is astounding. And a lot of the money being spent is to lock up non-violent offenders! My heart hurts for these inmates and their families.

If, as a society, we choose not to treat these fellow citizens with respect and compassion, perhaps a selfish interest in conserving tax dollars will reduce our prison population. But not as long as politicians use the fear card to get elected, and not as long as the travesty goes unexposed. Thanks for bringing some of the tragedy into the light. That is where the reform will begin, if at all.

Curtis Smith
Denver

Big bidness: I hope Alan Prendergast's "Maxed Out" commands some attention from both government officials and Colorado taxpayers. The privatization (outsourcing) of government jobs to the lowest corporate bidder is a bad deal for the public and another outrageous example of putting profit over people. State Representative Laine "Buffie" McFadyen is one legislator who has taken notice and spoken out against this; let's hope others follow her lead.

Your report should continue to sound the alarm for what is fast becoming a wide government concern. In the federal system, legislation to outsource government jobs is in full gear, so corporations can get richer and career positions become low-paying service jobs. For the first time in our history, many Bureau of Prisons facilities have been placed on the "commercial list," which means many of the jobs are no longer considered "inherently governmental." If running a prison is not inherently governmental, then what is? It is a sad reality that corporate green rules the day.

Coverage in Westword will confirm that government-run prisons are not immune to violence, but the record shows that well-trained staff in career positions far out-perform these rent-a-cop McPrisons. The public should not take their safety for granted. Running prisons is best left to well-trained experts. This issue is not going away any time soon. We will continue to speak out and educate the public and our elected officials. Thank you for the timely report.

Timothy D. Allport, president
American Federation of Government Employees
Council of Prison Locals, Local 709

A past-due Bill: Alan Prendergast's otherwise fine article about the deplorable state of Colorado's prisons downplays a few key facts. Governor Bill Owens and his Republican cohorts have created this mess for two reasons: to bolster Owens's tough-on-crime credentials so that he can run for president, and to boost the economy in the state's economic backwaters, especially in rural Republican enclaves. Half of the DOC's 19,000 inmates are eligible for parole, but why rehabilitate and release them when so many people are profiting handsomely from the cons' misery? Half the inmates are black or Chicano, who are non-entities in the GOP scheme of things. At a recent parole-board meeting, 81 of 83 inmates were denied release to community corrections, and those who must be paroled are set up to fail on the outside, then sent back inside the walls after perfunctory furloughs. Prisons are jam-packed because Owens and his ilk want them that way.

I fervently ask that the Colorado Legislature appoint a commission to study the whole can of worms. Members might ask why so many Mexicanos are being locked up instead of being deported. Why are we concentrating people with tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in unsanitary hellholes? When they eventually must be released, they spread disease across the landscape. Check out the Crowley County commissioners. They freely admit that the DOC has been their dying community's economic savior. Yet at what price?

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