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Schwarzenegger Is Posturing on Prisons

August 19, 2004

Re "Judge 'Can Take' Prisons, Governor Says," Aug. 17: Why is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger making his official press visit to Mule Creek State Prison, a soft protective-custody yard, and not to some of the more troubled prisons for his look inside the system?

This is too much politeness for me, like creating a movie set with toy soldiers and phony promises in a bucolic prison setting. Everyone knows the prison guards union aggressively lobbies down progressive legislation. Schwarzenegger goes where the power is and placates the rest. Just look at that generous pay raise for the guards he allowed to happen while serious programs for the mentally ill were slashed and California cities cannot afford enough police on the street to realistically fight crime.

Having a charming conversation with hard-nosed Judge Thelton E. Henderson and making calculatingly casual comments about a federal takeover of the prison system seem like, well, acting.

Christine L'hotsky

Pasadena

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Re "Inmates Forced to Sleep on Floor," Aug. 15: There is one immediate solution to the problems at Los Angeles County jails. It is simple and can save us millions. Allow me to send out this valuable advice to all possible detainees: Stop committing crimes. It's not that difficult. Millions of us do it daily.

Now, for those of you who wish to ignore this advice, please be forewarned that you may get beaten, shot or killed in the course of your crimes. And after you're apprehended, you will quite possibly suffer horrendous conditions and treatment within the court and prison systems.

Now that this has been explained to you, I hope that it will eliminate any sense of shock, surprise, discomfort or indignation you may experience as a consequence of your chosen criminal actions.

Al Guerrero

Los Angeles

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