No prison 'luxuries'

Published March 23, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I agree with Dee-Ann Dossi. We should not build a new prison ("No new prison," Forum, March 17). However, as a retired Department of Corrections professional, I feel compelled to respond to some of her statements that prison should "be punishment, not a resort stay" — "a cell with a bed, sink, toilet."

I am not aware of any judge handing down a sentence of prison time and all the abuse that you can be given. The punishment is removal from society.

Inmates who have committed heinous crimes are housed in secure cell blocks 23 hours per day. Most other inmates will eventually be released and undergo programing to better prepare them for life outside.

There are no "luxuries." The gyms are not modern. There is no cable TV. Computers are used in the education program and do not have Internet access. The meals are not appetizing.

Studies show that inmates who are allowed to exercise, socialize, receive therapy, recreation and programing have far lower rates of recidivism than those who sit in cells for the duration of their sentences.

To simply build more cells just to house inmates would not be cost effective at all.

Dennis M. Andrus

Salt Lake City,