Jail and prison are not solutions

Submitted by Justin Hailey
Posted 11/12/20

Dear Editor:

I’m writing in response to Tim Waters’ one bad apple letter. He talked about people getting locked up and given long sentences for petty or victimless crimes.

I’m …

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Jail and prison are not solutions

Posted

Dear Editor:

I’m writing in response to Tim Waters’ one bad apple letter. He talked about people getting locked up and given long sentences for petty or victimless crimes.

I’m currently sitting in the county jail for petty, nonviolent, victimless crimes. I didn’t hurt anyone, steal from anyone; nobody’s property was damaged or destroyed and yet I’m looking at a two- to four-year prison sentence.

Like Mr. Waters said, people who can’t afford a lawyer get the screw and with prosecutors trying to make a “name” for themselves and public defenders happy to help them instead of helping the people they are supposed to be helping, we end up with outrageous jail and prison sentences — with the taxpayers of the county and state footing the bill. It seems that instead of helping people overcome their addictions and become better people and productive members of society, all they want to do is lock people up, look “tough” on crime and let this cycle repeat itself.

What I don’t understand is how some people here can get chance after chance while others just get locked up. It seems like the people who bring and sell drugs in our community get more leniency than those who use and decide they want help. I really don’t think locking people up for nonviolent and/or victimless crimes is the answer.

I also know that drug court and/or rehab isn’t always the answer either, because until someone is ready to fight their addiction all the rehab and support in the world won’t work. But when someone sincerely reaches out and asks for help they should be given a chance at redemption.

If judges, prosecutors and lawyers want to show they care about our community and the people in it, they should use the power they have to actually help people and try to put a stop to the cycle. There are so many things that could be done to help. Jail and prison should be a last resort, not a go-to solution.

Justin Hailey

Park County Detention Center

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