EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 24, 2014

Jail can serve as a deterrent, if not as rehabilitation

To the editor:

I couldn’t help but listen closely as the local Boston media stations reported on Gov. Deval Patrick’s speech at UMass Boston about the justice system and how the “get tough on crime” stance failed.

His biggest issues were the costs involved with the lack of results. Further on in his speech, he had mentioned that the costs were so staggering that the state somewhere in the past had mandated that only the minimum served sentences be handed down to the convicted to save taxpayer or his budget money. OK, right off the bat, there is a conflict that separates the intentions of crime fighting and the governor’s agenda.

Here in the Valley we continue to see the same names of repeat offenders getting arrested for the same crimes, including violent offenders in the local newspapers and wonder why? We know why now. I guess he finally figured out that there were no rehabilitative properties involved with incarceration. It’s primitive, I agree. But being stuck in a place like that can also be a deterrent for the simpleminded people who often plague the courtrooms as well. It’s like childhood discipline tactics that parents often do or used to do.

I have no problem with keeping drug user offenders out of the prison population as long as they aren’t thieves, too. The same thing with drunks, as long as they confiscate their cars and licenses. I want these habitual and violent offenders prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. That includes assault, battery, rape, robbery, armed robbery, murder, attempted murder, etc.

Now with all that space saved in the prison populations, I’d like to see the bankers, the crooked politicians, the crooked law enforcement cadre and the drug traffickers do real time and a lot of it. That will certainly get the rehabilitated results that Deval and every other lawmaker were hoping for statistically and some they didn’t expect.

Tim Belanger


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