Regarding Dan Rodricks' commentary on drugs at the city detention center, don't opinion columnists belong on the op-ed page, not in the news section ("Scandal at jail another symptom of war on drugs," April 27)?

Mr. Rodricks blames a large share of crime and corruption on the drug war, and he advocates for decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana, cocaine and heroin. That would lead to a world of addicted people roaming the streets and driving cars in a drug-induced haze, with no motivation to work or be productive members of their families or of society.

Clearly the failure of the drug war demonstrates that our justice system is too weak and does not have adequate deterrent value. Criminals know that the odds are in their favor they will not be caught — or prosecuted or serve tough sentences.

We need tougher laws, more aggressive prosecution and harder sentences where criminals work, learn trades and pay the costs of their incarceration by producing products and services.

And we need to bring back the death penalty and use it. Mr. Rodricks has it all backward.

Douglas Roberts, Phoenix

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