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Ease prison woes with probation

February 28, 2009

Re "Before we open the cell doors," Opinion, Feb. 22

The conversation about the federal order to release more than 55,000 inmates from prison should center on a comprehensive solution that saves tax dollars and protects public safety.

The Times' article touched on the idea of "intermediate sanctions" and the need to provide local resources for counties that provide treatment and supervision to parole violators -- both great ideas. But the discussion stopped short.

The real need for local resources is in our adult probation departments. With additional resources, probation departments could implement treatment and supervision for offenders through monitoring, intervention, prevention and rehabilitation programs -- before offenders end up in state prison.

The probation model, with proper funding, could successfully reduce the number of offenders in state prison, fix the short- and long-term prison population crisis, and eliminate the need for early release.

Don Meyer

Woodland, Calif.

The writer is president of Chief Probation Officers of California.

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