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'Prison or Mirage'

January 16, 1987

Countless articles, editorials, and political controversy concerning the location of a prison in Los Angeles have reached the ad infinitum level.

Historically, throughout the United States, the majority of the population and/or the legislators and governors have selected sites in remote areas far from major cities whenever prison building has come up. Moreover, the same individuals and the public at large would like the minimum financial support possible for prisons once they are constructed. As a result, major limitations have been imposed insofar as the selection of both custodial and professional personnel in the majority of prisons.

I feel the above constitutes one of the major reasons that rehabilitation may not occur in such institutions. Obviously, therefore, I believe it is mandatory that prisons be located close to the center of major cities and that they be financed adequately so that upper-level custodial and professional personnel would be amenable to employment by the prisons. Substantial improvement in rehabilitation of prisoners would take place as a result.

One additional essential benefit would stem from the introduction of laws mandating that each and every individual released from prison live in a well supervised halfway house for a reasonable period of time. Instead of gravitating back to their former criminal bailiwick and repeating their crimes in the first 30 days after release from prison, individuals would acquire training and experience, thus fostering their capacity to be employed and adjust on a legal basis while initially under supervision.

ALFRED COODLEY MD

Los Angeles

Coodley is a psychiatric consultant for the criminal division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court and for the State of California Parole Clinic.

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