Letters to the Editor
A better mode
The U.S. has more people in prisons and jails than any other First World country. It's not because Americans commit more crimes than in other countries, it's just that we incarcerate folks for crimes when a better way to punish them should be found.
It makes no sense to send a "white collar" criminal to prison for years or even life if he or she is not a danger to others. Prisons and jails should only be used to protect us from a person who may do us harm, like murder, burglary or assault. There are better ways to punish a person who has done wrong but is not a threat to others.
Take, for instance, Bernie Madoff. Yes, he ruined many lives, but with proper oversight, he could be put to work helping others, made to live in a one-room apartment, and be supervised daily. That would be much cheaper than the $30,000 to $100,000 I've been told it costs to keep someone like him in prison. Plus, he'd contribute something to society. There are untold thousands of other people like Madoff who, with proper supervision, would contribute to society and not be any threat to anyone. Instead they rot in prison.
Take the case of the Morris men who face prison for allegedly not paying the IRS. What good will it do to send them to prison? At the least, I'm sure the business would suffer and, at the worst, nearly 200 men and women could be put out of work. Morris and the area would suffer greatly. The men and their company have contributed greatly to our churches, our schools and our city.
No, I'm not saying if you commit the crime you don't have to do the time. But instead of that being prison time, make the men do community service, pay the IRS and, instead of a big fine to the government, let the company help the Morris area. The company does paving, so why not make it pave the roads in Morris' cemeteries (they need it)? The company could also do work in Morris parks, or at the Stevens County Fair grounds. You get the idea.
I know these men. They are basically honest people. They made a mistake and they admitted it. Now, let's move on and not destroy these men and maybe their business by sending them to prison. And, in doing so, hurt many other people.