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Letters to the Editor

May 07, 2010

Change is a positive thing at RCI

To the editor:

On April 16, 2010, Allan Powell wrote a column about human relations and that changes aren't necessarily improvement. He successfully selected several specific examples from our Puritan-minded ancestors of colonial times' attempts to regulate sexual mores; to carve out territories from Native Americans by placing bounties on their scalps; to the horror of slavery that existed.

Professor Powell's examples led to the theme of his article that Americans should consider the suffering of fellow Americans with regard to health care and be more forgiving and charitable. I agree, as many who reflect upon his words would be compelled to empathize with the less fortunate. I also agree that human nature being what it is forces people to consider first their own welfare and comfort and that of their family before their fellow man.

However, the change that Professor Powell seeks to see in man is actually to be found in of all places at the Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI). Under the stewardship of Hagers-


town citizens, Warden Gregg L. Hershberger and Assistant Warden Keith Lyons, these two modern-day penologists have formed a coalition of cooperation with the Life for Lifers and Extra Legalese groups to bring educational programs to the residents that help to foster citizenship building and community service.

The general population is beginning to understand that in order to avoid recidivism upon release that they must change and learn to recognize that they are not the center of the universe. Lifers are becoming mentors to young men in the hopes that they can guide them to avoid the pitfalls that ensnared them in a morass of hatred that led to violent behavior. Naturally, like the greater society, RCI still has violence at times, but since Mr. Hershberger and Mr. Lyons have taken over, assaults have greatly diminished. A productive community is being formed.

And unlike Professor Powell's closing, "Change is not improvement," I prefer the Roman philosopher Lucretius' words, "The exact moment a man decides to change is the exact moment of that man's death." RCI leadership, both administrative and incarcerated American citizens, are changing for the better.

Larry Bratt
Inmate #168687
Roxbury Correctional Institution

Traffic accidents need to be cleaned up faster

To the editor:

Last Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to a story in your paper, Interstate 81 north in Washington County was closed due to an accident. Also stated was that traffic backed up into West Virginia.


So, people stuck in cars went without food and waterand thousands of gallons of fuel went up in smoke? Since law enforcement couldn't quickly clear a wrecked car and overturned tractor-trailer, many people suffered. They experienced pain and suffering and financial loss. Why?

In my new and improved imaginary land the insurance companies for the wrecked vehicles would pick up the cost for the pain and suffering and financial loss for fuel, lunches, potty breaks, etc.

Wouldn't take long withsuch a law here in this world before law enforcement was forced to cut out the messing around. Get down to business and get the traffic flowing again.

Skip Tollifson
Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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