Letters to the editor 7/18

July 18, 2004

Since prison riots, alternatives to violence have taken root

To the editor:

Despite the drenching rain, thunder and lightening, the spirits of those attending the Alternative to Violence celebration at the request and invitation of the Community Correctional Services Committee of Washington County were high, and it turned out to be a remarkable night.

The Community Correctional Services Committee have supported the Alternative to Violence project since its beginnings in 1992 after the riot, working diligently to bring about positive change. With this attitude at the forefront, Emma Lou Comstock, a committee member of CCSC and a long time facilitator of the Alternative to Violence project, extended an invitation to Maryland's top prison officials to speak at the celebration.

In light of weather forecasts, the secretary of the department of public safety and correctional services, Mary Ann Saar, the deputy secretary for operations, Mary L. Livers and the Division of Corrections, Commissioner Frank C. Sizer Jr., and a host of other outstanding members and guests throughout Maryland would defile the odds and take part in the 13th annual Alternative to Violence celebration.


The newly installed warden, Joseph P. Sacchet, would set the tone with his light and refreshing remarks that would serve as a groundbreaker for our guest speaker, DPSCS Mary Ann Saar.

No doubt Saar has been heavily criticized since her appointment to the position of secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, but this night would be a testament as to why Gov. Robert Ehrlich appointed her as his secretary.

The RESTART program that she spoke about to this group of eager listeners sounded like music to the ears. Despite the doubt and apprehension from so many, Saar and Ehrlich are determined to convince the state legislature to allocate money for the ReStart program.

She mentioned that 98 percent of the inmates return to the community and that the RESTART program would allow the Division of Corrections to effectively track each individual as they enter into the system, thereby assessing their needs.

The second part to RESTART is the re-entry plan that says where will you stay, what are your needs, those with serious medical issues would know where to go in order to have those needs addressed. What stood out most of all was Saar's common sense approach to dealing with incarceration. It costs $23,000 a year to keep a person incarcerated, and that's not factoring in the major medical expenses that prisons are faced with today.

It was obvious that Livers and Sizer ardently support the RESTART program, which is proving to be an uphill battle.

It would have been nice if those in opposition to these changes would have been in attendance. So much could have been made clear and I'm confident that the vision that is shared by those in charge of Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services would have been embraced or at least considered by the naysayers begrudgingly.

Rafiki Abdul Karim, 199426

Maryland Correctional Institution


We have our faults, but beheadings aren't one of them

To the editor:

To point out a Christian perspective on the so-called mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq, we make more over this clamor than the beheading of an American, butchered over there by these wild people who murder and destroy in the name of Islam!

This country has its faults, but we also help feed the world and police the despots like Saddam Hussein, to name just one of them.

The age group of these American guards, both male and female, reflects their types of values that they were fed on in the states at home, and no doubt while in Iraq! These young ones watch all those trash sitcoms and lewd programs and the gay exposure until they recalled it to their minds and took the digital photos and used the Internet highway!

Why did they do this? Was it money? Was it arranged by some deviants so it could reflect on the Bush administration so close to election time? Who knows? What's this pregnancy of that female guard? What's that all about?

Why are women put with men in certain situations? If you check the polls, you'll find these youngsters between 19 and 30 watch this sick trash from Hollywood; the Super Bowl exposure was proof of this. I wouldn't waste my time on such garbage! But to the point now? Does the little evil we do offset the great good that we export all over the world?

A.E. Snyder


If a cupola falls in the barnyard ...

To the editor:

"Why Do Barns Have Cupolas?" That's the question the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum hopes to answer with a new exhibit that opens July 24 at the museum on Sharpsburg Pike.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a cupola that graced the roof of the Reel barn on Sharpsburg Pike.

The exhibits committee is seeking pictures of other barn cupolas in Washington County. Pictures will be returned to the owner after copying.

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