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Prison: For Punishment or Rehabilitation?

June 09, 2002

Re "State Must Reexamine Manson Follower," June 4: So Superior Court Judge Bob N. Krug needs the state Board of Prison Terms to be more specific about the reasons for denying convicted murderer Leslie Van Houten parole, stating that it wasn't enough merely to claim that she was unsuitable for release because of the gravity of the crime. Try telling that to Rosemary LaBianca's family.

I wasn't aware that there had to be any further reason to keep people behind bars other than for the simple fact that they broke the law. We have this sick notion in our society these days that prison is for rehabilitation. It is not. People do time behind bars to serve justice. Van Houten is in jail for her unbelievably heartless and savage crimes, not to be rehabilitated. Van Houten was originally sentenced to death. She should be on her knees thanking God every day that she was spared that fate.

Douglas Cavanaugh

Canoga Park

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Regarding the court's ruling on Van Houten's parole board hearing: I find it truly repugnant that Gov. Gray Davis and Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer can continually defy the courts. Where is the Democratic Party leadership in Sacramento? The court ruled that the parole board had to follow the law and state the reason for denying parole for Van Houten. It also ruled that according to the law the parole board must state what the inmate can do to improve his or her chances to gain parole. The parole boards are not doing this.

My question to the attorney general and the man sitting in the governor's office: Do you think all residents of California are stupid? You are breaking the law, and you are using your office to do it. Will the voters continue to stand for this? I pray daily they will not. And, I am a Democrat.

Jean Bennett

Sun City

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