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Mandatory sentencing is a joke. How can you look at every crime that a person makes and sentence them the same? You take an apple that is completely rotten and you throw it away, but an apple that is bruised you eat it. Now how can you sentence a person that has never been in trouble in his or her lifetime, with a college degree and a good family life, and sentence them the same as a person with a criminal record a mile long? Personally I think if a person is a first-time offender with good family and a high school or higher education, he should be put on house arrest. Give us taxpayers a break and let the family pay the bill. Crimes such as murder and rape or kidnapping, no I don't believe they should be let off at all. I think there are a lot of people locked up right now that could be let out, that are first-time offenders with the things I pointed out. They could be productive citizens and still learn from their wrong-doings. Thank you.

Kathy Moore
Hayden, ID
January 24, 2004

I don't know much about your organization, but I have some educated and passionate views on our state's minimum mandatory laws -- they are not right for all felons. They take away ALL power of citizens/taxpayers, elected and honored judges, etc. Instead, they give ALL power to prosecuting attorneys and detectives. They eliminate the chance of good time for prisoners who make the changes for which we can only hope. They drain our state of an absurd amount of money. I have witnessed a gross injustice and have passionate feelings. I would love to hear back from you, especially if you are working to change legistlation and misconstrued public perception. Without those two changes, talk is talk. I am ready to get acting.

Meridian, ID
January 24, 2004

My brother was ordered by the courts and by the parole board to attend the RSAT program [Residential Substance Abuse Treatment]. As of this date he has not been able to attend this program! I don't understand this . . .

He is in MAXIMUIM Security, Boise. My brother had DUI's in which no one was hurt, including himself. If he does not attend this program, his release date will be 2010. This seems unfair. Where is the JUSTICE in this???

Anita Hillie
Idaho Falls, ID
January 23, 2004

As a UW student I am interested in the percentage of minorities in the Wyoming prison population. Perhaps you can lead me to these statistics. Thanks for any help you can offer.

Janice Proper
Casper, WY
January 23, 2004

The sites below should get you pointed in the right direction:

Wyoming Statistical Analysis Center, Contact info at: http://www.jrsa.org/sac/wy.htm

From the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: "Prisoners in 2002" http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/p02.htm This is a national report; not all statistics are broken down by state.

Also from the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: "Correctional Populations in the United States, 1998" (this is the latest year available): http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/cpusst.htm

You might also check out the Bureau of Justice Statistics homepage for other publications: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

This report, "Masking The Divide: How Officially Reported Prison Statistics Distort the Racial and Ethnic Realities of Prison Growth" (May 2001), talks about how minority statistics are reported and interpreted [from the NATIONAL CENTER ON INSTITUTIONS AND ALTERNATIVES: http://www.ncianet.org/]


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