Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

March 28, 2013

Creative solutions needed in W.Va.

— — Two very interesting and contrasting articles showed up in the paper last week. One was about Delegate Overington’s 27th attempt to get the death penalty reinstated while the other article concerned SB 371, which addresses prison overcrowding.  SB 371 is 17,000 words long and is alleged to somehow allow criminals to get out of jail if they are under the influence of drugs while committing a crime. 

 I don’t have the patience to read the whole thing, but I seriously doubt criminals would walk away from serious crimes if they could prove they were stoned at the time. The bill passed the Senate 33-0. That usually means it’s a no-brainer.  If there is some questionable language in the bill, it will likely be cleaned up before final passage. But what if the bill does let them out of jail to go to rehab (vacation)?

Maybe we should allow criminals out of jail because they were not in their right mind at the time? How can they be held responsible when they did not fully appreciate what they were doing? Surely you can’t punish someone who is really a nice guy when not on meth? No. I don’t believe any of that.  But there is a tremendous need for a creative solution involving some kind of long term locked down rehab with a proven track record.  It’s got to be out there.

 On the other hand, can you imagine someone in their right mind purposely ending another person’s life for no reason, no doubt of guilt, modern DNA evidence, caught on video and 10 eye witnesses and the possibility of appropriate punishment does not exist?  Well, right now that is the case.

 The way I see it — all drug addicts and all murderers don’t need to be in jail. Some offenders just need to be in hell and some need another well-crafted punitive chance. But until the options are on the table, we are stuck with what we have. And what we have right now needs a change worse than a one-hour full diaper.

 Paul Dorsey

Green Valley

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