Sunday, December 03, 2006


This letter was sent to the STAR TRIBUNE but never published.
The Recent outrage over the Dru Sjodin case means the Minnesotans have to face up a clear choice. Do you want to use your finite prison space on imprisoning people who merely offend your moral sensibilities or do you want to use your limited prison space to lock up people who do actual harm and who should be locked up for the protection of the rest of us? A three strikes and you're out law for serious criminal sexual conduct such as rape would have saved the lives of many recent victims of sexual predators since many of the victimizers would have previously had their third strike and have been safely locked away for good. But every time such a proposal is made, we are met with a barrage of objections saying we cannot afford to build the necessary prison space. Yet the January 10, 2003 Star Tribune reported that there were 1,137 drug offenders who comprised 18% of Minnesota's then 7,022 prison inmates. The January 13, 2004 Star Tribune reported Minnesota had 7,500 inmates as of January 9, 2004. At a cost of $80.00 per day to incarcerate a prisoner, the drug offenders were costing the state $33,200,700 per year. If Minnesota repealed its drug laws and released all its drug offenders, we would have had an extra 1,137 prison cells and over thirty-three million dollars to lock up the murderers, rapists, armed robbers, etc who really do hurt the rest of us. Why should I or anyone else care what substances someone else puts in his or her body? To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, it neither picks our pockets or breaks our legs.
Robert Halfhill125 Oak Grove, Apt 41Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403-4308Phone: 612-870-8026e mail:


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