Long prison sentences don’t rehabilitate inmates

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Re: “Criminal justice system needs tougher penalties,” by Ashley E. Robbins Jr., Feb. 19:

I’m not sure what rock the writer crawled out from under to come to the conclusion that the criminal justice system and prisons are faulty. Ever since this nation was inhabited, there have been rule-breakers and murderers. Today, so many nonviolent criminals such as drug dealers are being sentenced to a ridiculous amount of years. Drug addicts are getting stiff sentences because of their addiction problems.

The North Carolina prison system is filled with these types of criminals who are being housed with very violent offenders, creating an extremely volatile situation. Obviously, you have never been to prison, so whatever you base your opinion on is false. There has been little evidence to show that tougher, longer sentences reduce recidivism. In fact, most find the opposite.

Nobody wants to go to prison. Most inmates enter prisons and return to society more angry and violent than when they went in. The U.S. has the largest population of prisoners in the world, more than any other nation. There are more than 35,000 inmates in North Carolina alone, and there are 55 prisons in the N.C. System.

As for cable TV and basketball courts, they are there to help inmates blow off steam, to calm anxiety and to prevent violence.

“Free food, free housing, free clothes, free medical care and no work”? We had to give up our freedom and leave our families behind to get your so-called “freebies.” As for work, who do you think cooks the “free” food, washes the “free” clothes and cleans the “free” housing? And there is a small fee for every medical visit.

As for the bail system, the law allows for money to be paid to ensure that a person charged with a crime shows up to court. Remember, every person is presumed innocent until found guilty in court. It is not the other way around.

Prison is not a place anyone, including myself, sees themselves in, but bad things can happen to good people. You should do more research before you write about things of which you have no knowledge.

And, yes, readers should contact their state representatives. Find out about prison reform and sentences that fit the crime — not structured sentencing. Thank you!

David Brinkley


The writer is an inmate at Maury Correctional Institution in Greene County.