We have been following the rules and staying home for three weeks and that gave lots of time to ponder the problems at Phoenix SCI. The men, to avoid the virus, are now in their cells, even taking their meals while cell-bound. The governor is talking about releasing inmates but is not also considering the LWOP (life without the possibility of parole) population? Why not? If anyone should be released, it is these men who have served decades for non-violent offenses.

The only way they will ever see freedom is through commutation, which must be approved by the parole board who, as far as I can see, do not recognize men's capacity to change over time. They seem to deny the ability to apply for parole based on the original crime committed no matter how long ago it was committed and disregard that the man has demonstrated a positive social change. The nature of the crime seems to trump any other consideration, whether age, mental or physical condition, or decades of good behavior.

The legislatures continue to embrace the tough on crime attitude of the seventies, and victim families stress an eye for an eye. This leaves everyone blind, as stated by Marin Luther King. It seems that punishment for property crimes deserves a man to suffer for decades in prison, awaiting his departure in a pine box.

It is time for rational and individualized decisions.

John Taglianetti


comments powered by Disqus