Brad Bumsted's news story “State Corrections boss Wetzel wants fewer prisoners” provides excellent examples of Secretary John Wetzel's prison-reform rhetoric, but it leaves out one crucial fact — rather than shrinking the prison system, the Department of Corrections is spending $400 million to build two new prisons that will house 4,100 people.
Wetzel has claimed these prisons will “replace” the 83-year-old facility at Graterford, but Corrections' own spokespeople have explained otherwise, saying the old prison will be “mothballed” but may be kept available for future use.
We've been here before — in 2003, SCI-Pittsburgh was mothballed when SCI-Fayette was built; two years later, it was reopened and filled to capacity.
Even if SCI-Graterford is actually closed, the new prisons will still add almost 1,000 beds to the system. If Wetzel truly wants to decrease the prison system's size, he must stand up for meaningful policy changes, like repealing mandatory minimum sentences and establishing parole eligibility for lifers.
If he wants to reduce recidivism, he should fight to stop reincarcerating technical parole violators and abolish long-term solitary confinement, which is a form of torture.
Real reform requires real actions. Mere rhetoric isn't cutting it.
The writer is a member of the Greater Pittsburgh branch of Decarcerate PA (decarceratepa.info/).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bible under attack
- Gruber, then & now III
- Family first
- Voting insanity
- Gruber, then & now II
- Gruber, then & now I
- Postal questions
- Something special
- EPA impoverishing seniors
- Hypocrisy & B’nai B’rith
- No new stadium for Kiski