Supermax inmates deserve to be there
Having been the wife of an Ohio corrections officer for the past six years and having dealt first hand with the effects of the state of Ohio's budget crunch, I felt compelled to respond to a recent letter to the editor which proposed that the state could save money by doing away with the death penalty and closing the supermax Ohio State Penitentiary.
The writer's main argument was that it costs more to house a death row inmate than one serving a life term. She also argued that it costs approximately $15,000 more per inmate per year to be housed at the state's supermax facility than at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville, primarily because of the unique expenses of a death penalty trial and because supermax inmates are "locked up in solitary confinement 24 hours a day (except for a shower and recreation alone in a cage for one hour, five days a week."
First of all, the lengthy and expensive death penalty process is not the fault of this or any state. It is a creation of the restrictions placed upon states by the United States Supreme Court. Also, the seemingly endless appeals process, the greed of lawyers and the constant interference of ultra-liberal organizations impede this just penalty from bringing a quick and efficient conclusion to most death penalty cases. By the way, the leading cause of death among death row inmates nationwide is natural causes.
Second, inmates serving life sentences far outnumber those on death row. The tens of millions of dollars spent annually across the nation to prolong the lives of these aging and terminally ill inmates make the $3.18 million spent in Florida per death sentence seem like pocket change -- not to mention the cost of psychiatric care and related medication.
If it were not for the felonious actions of the inmates themselves while under detention there would be no need for a supermax facility. Yes, that $15,000 difference is a lot, but what of the court costs for all of the felonies committed annually by these inmates under a lower security level? What of the money spent because of all of the assaults and murders of correctional employees and other inmates at facilities with more out-of-cell time? What of the millions of dollars of damage done to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville during the 1993 riot? Many OSP inmates took an active part in this riot. Yes, supermax inmates spend 23 hours a day locked down and have their recreation in a so-called cage. Their victims however spend an eternity in a coffin or in the prison of their own tortured minds.
Finally, I would like to ask the writer and all of those who share her views what price they would place on the life of a six-year-old girl who was raped, murdered and left in the woods? What price on the life of a 12-year-old boy scout tortured, murdered, and set afire? What price on the life of the corrections officer murdered during the 11-day Lucasville riot? What price on their own lives? I say they are all priceless. Justice for these people at $3.18 million per death sentence? Sounds like a bargain.
ARLENE S. HUGHES
Valley could elect better candidates to public office
First of all, let me say how disgusted I am to hear our currently but thankfully convicted representative of Congress use foul language on television for all of our Valley children to hear. This sends the worst possible message to impressionable kids. Thanks again, Jimbo, for doing nothing to show respect for protocol or decency. But that's just par for the course for you, isn't it?
However, I wish to give thanks to the respectful men and women of the jury for their decision to find this moron guilty of all of the charges brought against him. I wish to give thanks to Judge Lesley Wells for maintaining her composure throughout criminal Traficant's attempt to corrupt the proceedings of justice in his case. I wish to thank those of you out there who voted against this poor excuse of a man in the last election who tried to make a change for the better.
And now, I wish not to thank all of you voters that have put this Valley in the situation we are now in. Proud of yourselves? Well, you shouldn't be. We now have no effective representative in Congress. And we won't until the November elections. And even then, we will wait some more.
Congratulations, Mahoning Valley Traficant supporters. You've been dealt the cards. And the deal just looks the same.
Then again if we are optimistic, maybe this will not be the case. This just might be a new beginning.
Time will tell.
Coverage of Middle East biased toward Arabs
I have read your reporting in the last few weeks and find it one sided and geared to bring out sympathies towards the Arab community and the Arab perspective.
While I have no problem with that as an educational tool, I do expect The Vindicator to present both sides of the picture simultaneously. As a subscriber and reader I expect no less from you. Where are the stories of the families in this area who have loved ones living in Israel? Where are the stories of the feelings of local Jews when they hear the hate spewing from the Muslim world? Where are the stories of the many attempts taking place between Arabs and Jews trying to resolve their problems?
I would hope that in the future The Vindicator would present both sides of the stories within the Middle East together so that their readership can see both sides of an issue and not take sides based on purely emotional feelings brought on by one sided presentations.
Abortion presages danger
In Second Thessalonians Paul writes of the apostasy that will emerge from within the Church (2 Thes. 2:3). The time has come. On April 5, an apostate professor from a nominal church university lectured here. He did not speak for the church. In fact he spoke against the teaching of the church. He is spreading the apostasy of which St. Paul warned, promoting the killing of God's babies in abortion chambers.
This recalls the professors who went about Germany promoting the killing of God's chosen people in gas chambers.
We pro-life, "anti-abortion" people are for saving lives, especially the lives of the most innocent and defenseless of all God's children -- "He who saves one life, saves the human race," a Jewish proverb holds.
"Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me," so Christ Jesus, a good Jew, has warned us.
FR. WILLIAM J. WITT M.A., M. Div.
X The writer is pastor emeritus of St. Brendan Church.