Something has gone wrong in America, which currently has the largest inmate population on the planet, both in raw number (more than 2 million) and on a per capita basis. A string of stories has described prisoners — some on death row and others incarcerated for decades — who were released based on DNA and other exculpatory evidence.
I anxiously await the publication of the forthcoming book, "The Collapse of American Criminal Justice," by the late Harvard legal scholar William Stuntz. And I pray for this nation.
Re "Will irradiation be back on the table?," June 19
Irradiation is not the solution to food safety issues. Building enough facilities to irradiate all of our food would be physically impractical, not to mention expensive. Further, the long-term health consequences of irradiating a large percentage of our food are unknown.
The article references a study concluding that irradiated foods are safe. In fact, byproducts found in irradiated foods have been linked to genetic damage in human cells
and serious health problems in lab animals.
Additionally, irradiation doesn't help us pinpoint the origin of a food-borne illness. Larger volumes and longer global supply chains make tracing the source difficult.
A real solution would be based on adequate funding of our food safety bodies, more vigilant monitoring of imports and a much better understanding of the risks posed by intensive food production and processing methods.
The writer is executive director of Food & Water Watch.
Re "Where money is no object," Column One, June 18
While he is far from being a millionaire, my youngest son and many of his close friends espouse the same beliefs regarding wealth and the use of money as those of the young entrepreneurs detailed in this article.
Among all these young people, there is a stated disdain for much of the offerings of what has been called the American dream. While far from being monkish about it, they are fashioning simpler, deeper lives, which gives me great pleasure and further instills hope for the future of our planet.