Reader: Without rehabilitation, prison is nothing but cruelty and pain
"Altered State," Off Limits, November 29
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, we were excited to go to Fremont Street to try a local delicacy: the deep-fried Twinkie! To our disappointment, there were no Twinkies to be had. Due to the recent contract negotiations between the Hostess Corporation and the bakers' union, we had to settle for deep-fried Oreos. Not bad, but a far cry from a deep-fried Twinkie, or so I am told.
The State of Colorado should offer the Hostess Corporation tax breaks and special privileges allowed by Amendment 64 and ask Hostess to move its main production here to Colorado. Working with local edibles chefs, production of sweet snacks could be created using canna-flour. The famous chocolate cupcake could be sold in a three-pack, with decorative icing, renamed the Hostess 3 "0" 3s. Perhaps a green-marshmallow "Rocky Mountain snowball." The new facility could include the dispensary to sell these items and possibly a smoke room. It could have daily tours viewing production of the "Mile High" products. At the end of each tour, participants could be allowed to "build your own Twinkie."
This would bring employment to Colorado and save the cream-filled cake from extinction, to be enjoyed by future generations of 5280 stoners and tourists visiting Vegas.
"The Old Boys," Alan Prendergast, November 29
There needs to be a hearing to determine if a juvenile will be tried as an adult. Texas calls such a hearing a "Waiver of Jurisdiction," and quite often it can last a week or more.
Mad, insane district attorneys, as Carol Chambers has been demonstrated to be throughout her term, have charged juveniles as adults without concern. This leaves enough cases warranting a review — way more than necessary — to tie up the courts at all levels for many years to come
Again, another amazing, thought-inspiring story from Alan Prendergast.
I cannot help but notice that throughout the story, in any comment from any person in the prison system, there is no reference to rehabilitation. I was taught, as were many other citizens, that the purpose of prison was rehabilitation. I would imagine that most citizens use that reference as part of their decision-making process when they are on a jury, or when they hear about crimes and make mental decisions about how the offender should be punished.
If rehabilitation is not valid anymore, and all that a criminal gets is prison time, solitary confinement, prison brutality and a life without hope, we should all be changing our understanding of the prison system and of our justice system. Without rehabilitation, prison is nothing but cruelty and pain. Without a chance for rehabilitation, prison is the pure representation of cruel punishment.
Who can imagine spending time in solitary confinement for two or three years? We would not subject a vicious dog to such a punishment. Imagine the animal activists' reaction to this statement: "Your pit bull is going to be put in a tiny cage with no windows for three years, and abused." It would be on every news station in the country. Yet we treat children like this and there is no outrage, or even public criticism.
This article should make people think about the cruelty of the current system, the lack of hope, the lack of humanity and the lack of justice. It is certainly time to revisit and modify the state's felony-murder statute and find a way to handle criminals and possible innocent children with more humanity.
At this point, it looks like the only person who really cares is you.
I believe that the Department of Corrections must make every decision based on issues of safety. Managing and controlling the population is paramount.
Providing a certain quality of life and offering opportunities for education and rehabilitation are not top priorities. However, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and "7 Habits on the Inside" are examples of programs that have successfully shifted many offenders from criminogenic thinking toward understanding how to be a responsible member of society if/when released.
We need more programs. The offenders, especially the younger ones, have worked diligently to catch up and learn, obtain degrees, read extensively and improve themselves. Many have accepted responsibility for their past poor choices and horrific acts, but still sense that the world has thrown them away and forgotten them. The public needs to pay attention, because most of the prison population will eventually be released. Investing in education rather than more punitive measures is an investment that helps both victims and perpetrators of crime, by offering all humans hope and dignity.
Chef and Tell, Lori Midson, December 6
While this is a very interesting and well-done interview focused on newcomer chef Jay Leandro, I find it quite disappointing that a publication of Westword's magnitude cannot spell the name of its featured subject correctly — particularly as chef Leandro is quite new to the culinary scene in terms of recognition. I would imagine this is not the proud outcome he had hoped it to be. I would expect that your publication would issue an apology, especially to the subject himself.
Editor's note: The spelling was corrected before the complete Chef and Tell was posted online — but that was after the print edition went to press. Our apologies to chef Leandro.
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