Keep up the good work
We were very pleased with Lance Tapley’s article about Bo Lozoff (“We’re All Doing Time,” August 31), and with the way it included matter-of-fact commentary on the harsh treatment of prisoners, specific causes for increased incarceration, etc. It’s a really profound article.

Thanks deeply for writing about legislative flip-flopping between harsher sentencing as a knee-jerk reaction to a specific crime versus the stated goal to alleviate overcrowding in Maine’s jails and prisons. We’re also glad that Mr. Tapley brought in the “spiritual Reaganomics” phrase that Bo Lozoff uses to illustrate the need to help people now rather than waiting until we possibly “get our own lives together...”

Mr. Tapley’s pessimism is entirely realistic. Reading the most recent plans being floated in Maine’s newspapers for dealing with our overcrowded prisons and jails — none of which seem to include moving toward more humane treatment and real restoration — is almost too much to bear. That’s why we commend reporters at the Portland Phoenix for continuing to write articles about these issues when it would be so much easier to sit on an island somewhere and turn out lightweight fiction — though we suspect that wouldn’t actually be easier for socially conscious reporters.

Maybe now that we’re reading in the larger media about Mother Teresa’s problems with feeling joy (or an attachment to her religious beliefs) during her decades of selfless work, we can relax if we don’t always feel personal satisfaction in serving society and continue on in spite of depression about the situations we see around us.

It was also inspiring to read the Portland Phoenix article about the Black Bird Collective plans (“Group Seeks to Hold Maine to UN Standards,” by Jeff Inglis, August 31). Their work is perhaps inspired by your articles on Deane Brown. We’ve learned that these folks will send petitions to anyone around the state who would like to assist with their commendable goals. This is one more area in which Maine can lead the way toward restorative justice, improving mental health for prisoners (and thus everyone on the outside, too), and dramatically lowering recidivism rates.

Judy Garvey
Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents
www.jailvolunteers.org

Blue Hill

Related: Three years and counting, Letters to the Portland editor: May 4, 2007, Letters to the Portland editor: August 4, 2006, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Criminal Sentencing and Punishment, Prisons, United Nations,  More more >
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