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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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December 03, 2004

Prison reactions

My column of Dec. 1 on commuting sentences of convicts who have served 25 or 30 years has gotten quite a response (as I expected). Most of the reactions are from men, and almost all of them negative.

Writes one man:

The innocent people they killed are still dead. Incarceration of murderers is a cost I accept as a taxpayer and as a citizen of a society that rejects predators. Do a little "bleeding heart" stuff on the victims, why don't you?

A man in Walla Walla, a staunch conservative, writes:

Maybe we should just change the law and make it legal to kill. Or better yet, lets release them in your neighborhood. Also, lets do research on bring their victims back to life. That is about as practical as your suggestion.

A man with a federal government e-mail address writes:

If these people murdered your son or daughter would you feel the same way? Who will you hold responsible if they re-offend?

(Answer: probably not, but that is not how I reach my answer. Answer: them.)

An employee of Washington State University writes:

I believe we must not have governors commuting sentences of convicted criminals who have exhausted all avenues of appeal within the judicial system and for whom no exculpatory evidence has come to light.

But a woman with a son incarcerated at Monroe disagrees:

I think we all need some kind of incentive for doing well and certainly inmates need that as well. Their environment offers very little hope of any kind and if there could be a few glimmers of that every once in a while, what a difference that would make in the lives of the inmates as well as their family members.

Writes another woman:

For the last fifteen years or so I have volunteered at the Reformatory. I have met a number of men who, I have long thought, have grown past the person that committed the crimes they are incarcerated for. I have come to believe that most of us do something in our early years that we would rather not have our noses rubbed in today. These men are not allowed to move past the mistakes they made in their youth. Every day they get looked at as the individual they were twenty, thirty years ago.

One of my male colleagues, referring to my general distaste for left-wing causes:

You liberal do-gooder.

And a young woman whose politics also tilts to port, writes:

I wonder when this became a “lefty” issue anyway…sigh

Respond to Bruce

Read his latest column

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at December 3, 2004 12:11 PM



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