"A Prison Writer Who Uses a Sentence Wisely," a superb feature by Miles Corwin in the April 15 View, describes a federal prisoner ready for parole. The reasons are evident.
Dannie Martin, who has the discipline and skill to write news stories, poetry and a novel, now has the brains to avoid heroin and robbing banks. In short, he can make a greater contribution to society by writing the Great American Novel instead of being in prison.
Even though he has spent most of his adult life in prison, he has the stuff now to break the grip of institutionalization and make it on the outside. But he must recognize a writer's life is not easy, so he may have to accept other legitimate employment to pay expenses.
Finally, taking a chance on Dannie will save society at least $80,000 because he has four years left on his sentence. Today we must consider alternatives to prison in order to respond to the problem of prison crowding and to the value of extended prison punishment.
HUGH C. HYDE