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Who's at fault for our prison system?

January 22, 2007

Re "Governor blames public indifference for prison ills," Jan. 18

The governor may be correct that the public has ignored the jail system, but it didn't ignore prosecuting "three strikes" criminals. From the perspective of room in jails and prisons, overcrowding is an obvious outcome of that horrible law.

I was a juror on a case in which a man got life for something that really should have been 10 years. We on the jury were horrified.

I speak on panels that go into the prisons, so governor, not all of us are indifferent as you say. Perhaps the governor is indifferent.

JAN PEDERSEN

Reseda

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One of the chief reasons for the public apathy is continuing reports of high salaries (when overtime is included) for prison guards, and the power of the prison guard union lobby in Sacramento. Renegotiate the contract and find more money to build new prisons.

JOEL H. GOODMAN

Rancho Mirage

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It is shocking that an elected official would complain that the electorate is to blame for lack of action in his and previous administrations on prison overcrowding and the problems that go with it.

Our legislators are elected to take control of the state's issues and pass legislation to correct them. It is their obligation to pull this subject out from under the rug. We need sentencing reform. We do not need to add more prison beds with borrowed money.

This administration is showing gross irresponsibility by blaming the public for the prison problems and wanting to fix them with borrowed money that will mortgage our great-grandchildren.

I hope the courts take over the prisons and remove our state government from any further destructive decision making.

ALEXIS MARIE

West Hills

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