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Letters From Readers

Letters from readers are encouraged. Words in brackets [like this] reflect material added by the editors in order to clarify a subject. Letters are edited for length. Names of writers will not be published unless specific authorization is given. We not only welcome the input of every reader, we want this section to become a forum in which prisoners and family members can criticize, express ideas, and share information. Here are some letters recently sent to newsletter workers:

Better Than Convictions?

Read the 2nd and 3rd PLN. I like it and will help support it wholeheartedly. You will do well with this paper. I like it more than I do Convictions magazine. I am going to throw all my support I have been giving them over to the PLN.

I wish to complement you on getting us a paper that concerns all prisoners and not just a few.

B.B., Clallam Bay

She's Able To Use Our News

Thanks for including the news about Monroe losing its impact money in the newsletter. I shared that information with the prison [construction] opponents in Grandview this week. I was told that although most people in Grandview don't want the prison the city council members support it because they think it will be good for their own businesses. The local people ought to boycott them. Prosser and Sunnyside are only 8 miles [on] either side of Grandview and the people could do their business elsewhere. Some of the opponents include teachers and school board members, who say that if the prison comes they'd have to build 3 more schools to accommodate the influx of kids, and they don't have the money. That's one reason the news about Monroe losing its impact money was so useful. I hope the folks up there can put the info to good use. They are afraid the state is going to select Grandview despite their objections, and they don't think they are fairly represented on the prison siting task force.

M. H., Richland

[Editor's Note: According to a story in the June 1, 1990, Seattle PI, page C1, the new prison at Clallam Bay has not been that much of a blessing. The transiency due to high guard turnover had adverse effects on the schools, housing, and the sense of community.

Moreover, the story had this to say about the impact of the new prison: "Crime also increased in Clallam Bay faster than elsewhere in the county in the three years after the prison began full operation."

"From 1986 through 1988, calls for service to the Clallam County Sheriff's Department from the town increased by 58 percent. Bad checks were up 220 percent, simple assault increased by 79 percent and domestic violence increased by 150 percent.

"In addition, there have been five escapes from the prison..., one [of which] prompted a house-to-house search that disturbed residents..."

The Clallam Bay crime problem is a factor the folks in Grandview might well consider.]

Forced Treatment For Sex Offenders?

Regarding the article "We Are All Prisoners" in PLN #3, I would like to point out that the majority of sexual deviates in prison refuse to participate in any treatment programs. They cannot be forced to participate either. Then people like me, who have been convicted of murder, who are told that unless they attend drug and alcohol treatment (behavior modification) they won't be paroled!

Those of us with drug and alcohol related crimes are forced by the state to go to these treatment programs many years later. I've been down for 14 years and the only alcohol I've even smelled was on a cop's breath!

The courts ruled that a man can't be forced to take treatment, but the state turns around and says, "No treatment, no parole."

If sexual deviates are serious about seeking help and want to help themselves, then let them get their butts in gear and ask for treatment. I can respect that. If they refuse treatment, let them take their chances with the wolves.

B.B., Shelton IMU

On Sex Offenders

...All cases are different, but it's hard to make closed categories and above all to speak of good crime or bad crime, as if crime were not rooted in a society and class system of exploitation, marginalization and the social expulsion of its "deviants."

JMR, Fresness, France

Working With All Prisoners

When I started working with Prisoners Initiative it had been my standpoint to stop contact with prisoners that raped women or children. Others there argued: "...and then there's the one who has robbed a poor pensioner, the one who has polluted the environment, and so on until there's hardly any prisoners left with whom none of us have personal difficulties."

Here in Germany there is a group called "Women Change Rapist." They are all women who have been raped and who go into prisons for juveniles to confront the rapists with their feelings and thoughts. This is very controversial, especially in feminist sections. The main point is that it shouldn't be a woman's job to bring men up to another view of women, but men should do this for each other. As far as I know, no men try to do this. I'm convinced that imprisonment helps nothing. That more rapists are coming out of prison than are going in. Therefore only [two] possibilities remain: Pronounce the death penalty for rapists or help them change themselves.

Gaby, Dortmund, Germany

Thanks To All

I want to express my gratitude, thanks and praise for those of you who have in any way helped this fine publication start and become a valuable tool for communications and expression of truth.

Some of the messages coming out of Purdy have been really great because they preach unity and its value. Only the guilty fear the peaceful, true [and] constructive words of the pen.

D.H., Clallam Bay, WA

He Likes Our Law

I've received the first three issues of PLN. It's an excellent newsletter and I'd like to thank everyone who puts it together. I've used several legal avenues published in your paper with success. It's been a tremendous help for me and other inmates who I've assisted in petitioning the courts.

J. A., Walla Walla, WA

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