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Letter: Law changes may mean less need for prison
First Published Jan 30 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jan 30 2014 01:01 am

Before we rush to relocate the Draper prison to make room for more beds, let’s look at the discussions related to our exploding prison populations ("Moving Draper prison seems to be in the cards," Tribune, Jan. 24).

We need to look at how we got to this huge prison population. The ACLU has denounced the "school to prison pipeline" for small crimes of drugs or deviance that are often a product of despair, poverty or abuse.

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Reports say that prison populations have gone up 800 percent since 1980 when President Reagan declared war on drugs, leading to the largest prison population in the world and the largest in human history.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and others are looking at the unfair sentencing guidelines associated with drug possession that have incarcerated people of color in unfair numbers. Those discussions could lead to a decreased need for a huge new prison complex.

And the danger is that future downsizing would be less "profitable" to the "stakeholders" who would need to keep a new prison full to justify the move and its cost.

Let’s wait until we have seen what changes and other solutions are out there.

Dolores Chase

Salt Lake City




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