Make inmates workAmong the varied approaches to...


Make inmates work

Among the varied approaches to mitigation of the crime problems that are suggested, plain old-fashioned punishments are seldom even mentioned.

All during this long horrid winter, thousands of plumbers, furnace repairmen, road crews, mail carriers and farmers have plugged away steadfastly at their jobs -- while jails were full of able-bodied men and women who were mostly indoors, warm, getting three squares a day and watching television.

If these jailbirds had to work outdoors eight hours daily in all weathers, one doubts if disciplinary problems or, worse, riots in the cellblocks would occur.

Any amount of unskilled labor is needed both in "Charm City" and its suburbs. None of it would take jobs from unions or the unemployed, since it need not be paid for. Miscreants owe debts to society.

Baltimore boasts filthy streets, alleys and backyards. Streambeds are full of junk. Parks and roadsides are often trash dumps. Derelict houses need doors and windows scraped and painted as a step toward rehab work.

Brooms, shovels and rakes are cheaper than building more prisons. Leg irons would forestall runaways; striped clothing would quickly identify those who tried escapes; and guards well-armed would discourage such efforts.

The cry of "cruel or unusual punishment" could hardly be raised since thousands of honest citizens perform these chores for a living.

Why must we pamper our prisoners instead of putting them to hard, hard labor?

M. H. Cadwalader


Similar truths

Louis Farrakhan's "truths" have as much validity as David Duke's.

Elaine Ross


Mixed up

When education is in crisis, why did an advanced academic middle school adopt a program where, instead of excellence, mediocrity is encouraged?

Canton Middle School now combines sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in each class room, with no attention given to academic ability. Isn't that what was wrong with the one-room, little red school house?

I have been told that this is the new approach sweeping the country. It seems this approach needs to be swept out the door, and each and every child should be taught to achieve excellence.

Darla Gatton Shreves


Violence spells success?

I am delighted to learn from David Zurawik's article Feb. 16 that Barry Levinson's "Homicide" is going to be back on NBC. Mr. Levinson puts a twist to this series that makes it a cut above the rest, and that spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S to me.

Keeping in mind that scripts are stories from a writer's mind, if co-producer Tom Fontana made full use of police consultants hired to advise on authenticity of police uniforms and demeanor and on parts of scripts concerning police procedure, there should be no problem like the one mentioned by actual Baltimore homicide detectives who wrote to Barry Levinson complaining that one episode made them look dishonest. Viewers should know that it's only a story.

Similar plots have been seen on other TV cop shows whose base of operations was in other cities across the country. So, why be worried about Baltimore's image in particular? This series is in no way hurting Baltimore.

Like Michael Styer of the Maryland Film Commission, I, too, am eager to have future episodes of "Homicide" filmed in Baltimore.

Laura Lynn



The history of the United States is permeated with violence of one form or another. Legally sanctioned, as in a formally declared war, or otherwise. Most of the victims of the legally sanctioned violence have been people of color: Native Americans, blacks, Mexicans and Asians are just a few of the groups.

This country loves violence of all kinds. It makes no difference if it's a sports event, a formally declared war or watching reality-type TV shows like "Cops." This violence is repulsive, but still finds favor with a certain hypocritical segment in this society.

These same hypocrites who would denounce programs like "The Simpsons" and "Beavis and Butt-head" would see nothing wrong with Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson movies.

If the talk about violence is going to be taken seriously, the hypocrisy has to be recognized and removed.

Peggy Cook


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