Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Letter The Bee Refused To Print

I sent this one in last week in response to a column the paper let the police chief publish about how we all need to be scared because the state is going to be releasing inmates early next year due to a court order because it can't provided decent health care for the people we choose to incarcerate. Of course, Chief Dyer's answer is to spend more money on more cops. I think there are better ideas....

Dear Editor:
Simultaneously working and retired police chief Dyer says in his recent column that prisons cannot be seen as a burden or cost, but as an investment. Interestingly, the Bee's own editorial on the same page bemoans the 2 billion dollar cost of the new death row that the state is trying to build.
The simple fact is that trying to execute prisoners is way more expensive than locking them up for life. I would like to hear retired/current Chief Dyer argue that we would all be dollars ahead by joining the rest of the civilized world by eliminating the death penalty.
Dyer also tries to scare Fresnans out of their wits with the threat of "career criminals" being released upon us next year. What he does not explain is that this is the result of the state providing inadequate health care to the people it chooses to incarcerate. The Chief needs to get real with us and either advocate higher taxes to provide mandated health care for inmates or suggest practical ways to reduce our prison population. Eliminating incarceration for marijuana possession would be a good start.
I hope, when the retired/current chief gets his next chance to address the people of Fresno in the Bee, that he will lay off the scare tactics and talk to us like adults.

Jeffrey W. Eisinger


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