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Our Prisons Are a Crime 

Letters published December 21, 2000

And dealing drugs shouldn't be: David Martin hit the nail on the head in his assessment of Ohio prisons ["The Average Inmate," December 14].

It should be a crime to jail offenders so far from their loved ones. In the Jefferson Gazette, I read about a local man sentenced to two years at the Lorain County Correctional Institute for marijuana possession with intent. So are the people who love this man supposed to drive 100 miles each way every week to visit him? Mr. Butler should have been sent to LCCI and this other gentleman to the Lake Erie Correctional Institute.

In the same newspaper, I read quite frequently about people convicted of stalking, domestic violence, assaults, and the like. These felons are given suspended sentences and probation of one year. If they can receive suspended sentences, why couldn't nonviolent offenders receive likewise?

The solution, of course, is to decriminalize drugs and focus on rehabilitation and not punishment. We might want to look into the causes of crime instead of catching and locking up criminals when it's too late. This isn't the popular solution because it forces us to look inside ourselves and our society. It's easier to take them all out back and shoot them, isn't it?

Most crimes committed have to do with a desire for material wealth. Whose greed is more of a crime? The person lacking the ability to climb the corporate ladder of success by stepping on everyone else, who then turns to stealing or peddling to satisfy that greed? Or could it be the well-educated person who never wanted for anything?

We need serious prison and legal reform if this nation is to have even the appearance of a free society, where every citizen has equal access.

Anne M. Johnson
Dorset

Beauty through the eyes of a commuter: Driving down I-480 every afternoon, I noticed a billboard advertising the TV show The Street depicting the body of a sexy woman -- white men's shirt on, newspaper in hand, panties slightly visible, nice rack -- gracing the horizon after a long day of work. One day I noticed that she was partially covered with a graceless black bar over most of the photograph, only to read the next day in The PD that the billboard was considered to be "offensive" to some -- wives and children, I would suppose, who obviously made an issue of it to have the ad covered. Only days later, I came to notice large billboards of WTAM's Mike Trivisonno, flaunting all his naked gracefulness, surrounded by balls from the different sports that keep us all mesmerized most days of the week, with large letters proclaiming that they have "All the Balls."

The issue is, which is more harmful in the public's eyes . . . or, in the end, which is more acceptable and/or proper for this community?

Matt "The Mad Monk" Wilson
Cleveland

Scene previews are in need of review: First off, did Rob Harvilla even brave the cold and actually go see the Marilyn Manson concert on December 8 [Nightwatch, December 7]? Second, if he did, I'd like to know which kinds of drugs he was on, because the show he described was not the show put on!

The show at the CSU building was nothing more than Act 3 of a (planned) four-act play. Manson is doing "rock theater," and he chooses as his concept the horrors of everyday life to forcefully choke us with it. Maybe next time, Scene's assignment department should get someone who will actually attend the show to review it!

Charles Bailey
via the Internet

Great music, in fact, is great music: The review of Roger Waters's live album is the stupidest thing I have ever read [Playback, December 7]. Bashing the greatest musician of the last 50 years? Come on. Great music is never dated. It remains always what it is: great music. My eight-year-old's two favorite artists are Limp Bizkit and Pink Floyd. I checked in to Scene to see if you had any articles on the December 23 reappearance of Paul Fayrewether, the greatest Cleveland musician this half-century, and found instead an article bashing the greatest overall musician.

Needless to say, I won't be checking in on Scene soon (unless you happen to send me a copy of that writer's pink slip). And I thought the musical opinions here in south Florida were bad! I thought Cleveland still represented rock.

Tony Soblotne
via the Internet

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