The Baltimore Sun

Social service 'angels' saved relative in need

I am writing to let the taxpayers of Baltimore know that their money is being well-spent.

I live in Virginia, and as a result of circumstances I never thought would occur in my family, I needed to enlist the services of ombudsmen at the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education (CARE) and at Maryland's Adult Protective Services agency. I found that Luis Navas-Migueloa, a long-term care ombudsman at CARE, and Joyce Brown and Sharon Donnelly of Adult Protective Services are angels in disguise.

These individuals went above and beyond the call of duty and kept me up to date on the status of a family member receiving less than adequate care in an assisted-living facility.

These workers have a job that is thankless and have to deal with people who are not always at their best. But these individuals listened to me and did not try to brush off my concerns.

I am happy to report that as a result of their cooperation, my family member has been moved and is receiving better care, and I am no longer concerned for her safety.

Robert J. Pulaski, Providence Forge, Va.

Mandatory sentences unfair to thousands

Former President George W. Bush's commutations of the prison sentences of two former Border Patrol agents should be commended as an act of mercy ("Bush commutes terms of imprisoned border agents," Jan. 20).

The border agents received mandatory minimum sentences that the judge could not tailor to fit them or to their crime. However, the border agents are not alone. Thousands of first-time, low-level and nonviolent drug offenders are serving sentences just as long or longer. Many of them seek clemency each year, but Mr. Bush granted less than a dozen commutations in his eight years in office. President Barack Obama should grant many more.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Obama promised us government that works. Mandatory minimum sentences don't work. They create injustice, fill our prisons, cost taxpayers a fortune and don't reduce crime.

Granting clemency to some prisoners won't fix everything, but Mr. Obama should use commutations to begin a dialogue about how to get rid of mandatory minimum sentences.

Inge Cooper, Washington

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