Go ahead and close minimum-security prisons

[Update: A shortened version of this letter is published in the Oregonian, Sunday 2/8/09, as “Prison idea  a good one.”]

Dear Editor,

The Oregonian reported on Tuesday that Oregon’s lawmakers are considering an extensive list of possible budget cuts (“Oregon legislators consider bleak budget outcomes”).

Reporter Harry Esteve opined, “The list includes some alarming prospects, including the possibility of closing public schools up to a month early and shuttering eight minimum security prisons and turning the inmates loose.”

One of these ideas is not like the other. Closing public schools a month early is certainly an alarming prospect. But closing minimum-security prisons? Allowing thousands of Oregonians, mostly convicted of nonviolent crimes, to go home to their families? Eliminating an avenue for Oregon manufacturers to get away with subminimum wages and poor working conditions? That’s just a good idea.


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About Al Bradbury

Labor journalist by day, singer-songwriter by night, Odonian at all hours.

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