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'There's a Better Answer Than Building More Jails'

July 16, 1988

I wish to take issue with Karl Fleming's column "There's a Better Answer Than Building More Jails" (Opinion, July 3). Twice Fleming considers "family squabblers" and "family feuders" as an issue which could be served better by "diversion programs," as well as an issue which poses "no violent threat."

The facts and figures are in direct contradiction with Fleming's personal opinion. To mention but a few:

- 40% of all murdered women are killed by their partners (Uniform Crime, FBI).

- 65% of all young men incarcerated for murder are there for having killed their mother's battering husband or friend (FBI).

- 20% of all hospital emergency room visits are caused by battering.

- 10% of all homicides in the U.S. are battered women, according to 1978 statistics. (Rates are higher today.)

One battering occurs every 3 minutes (federal government statistics).

- The highest rate of homicide is between people who know each other.

- 95% of all batterings are committed by men.

- Overnight jailing prevents repeats by as much as 85% (National Institute of Justice: Confronting Domestic Violence, November, 1986).

We are but a small, nonprofit, tax-exempt community clinic. Yet of the 1,050 persons we treated in 1987, approximately 10% were either the perpetrators of domestic violent behavior or the recipients of domestic violent behavior.

I sincerely question whether Fleming and I live in the same city, and for that matter in the same world.


Executive Director

Forte Foundation

Van Nuys

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