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Spend on Defenders

January 12, 2003

One way to reduce prison costs is to spend more money on indigent defense (Opinion, Jan. 5). Defendants represented by overworked and underpaid public defenders are likely to get longer prison terms, costing taxpayers more than was saved on defense. Closer scrutiny by better-paid public defenders would ensure that long sentences go to truly dangerous criminals, not just those poorly represented. This is a rare chance to increase fairness and public safety while cutting costs.

Ilya Shlyakhter

West Roxbury, Mass.

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