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Controlling the Cost of Housing Prisoners

February 01, 2003

Re "Better, Cheaper Prisons," editorial, Jan. 23: It is time to put nonviolent prisoners to work. Instead of our state money going to Mexico, let's keep it right here to shore up our sagging economy. Prisoners could work in the fields harvesting, in chicken processing plants, etc. Their salaries could be used for the cost of their incarceration, their dependent families and to start a savings account for them, so on their release they would not have to return to a life of crime. Also, this would help create a work ethic.

Carene Landino

Temple City

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The solution to the state prison budget problem is not letting prisoners out but controlling the cost per prisoner (Jan. 22). Based on the figures published in The Times, the cost per inmate a decade ago was just under $23,900. In just 10 years, the cost per inmate ballooned to $32,500, an increase of 36%. We don't need to compromise our judicial system. We just need better cost controls.

Michael Adams

Pacific Palisades

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