We can do better

Published 7:37 pm Thursday, May 24, 2012

To the Editor:

Danny Hembree Jr. has been taught a lesson. Convicted of the suffocation death of a 17-year-old girl, Hembree bragged about his state-paid accommodations. The N.C. Legislature responded by introducing legislation to remove TVs on death row. My, how draconian.

Why not legislation to create a Fast-track Capital Murder case. Expedited in clear cut cases (think Hembree, Jeffrey Dahlmer, etc.). The death of the convicted inmate to occur within the calendar year.

Why not legislation to feed inmates two instead of three meals a day. Thermostats set on 85 degrees in the summer and 60 degrees in the winter. Appeal that to the Supreme Court.

Why not legislation to decriminalize non-opiate class drugs to reduce the revolving door for law enforcement. Allow them to refocus their energies on violent/property crimes. This alone will reduce our prison populations significantly. We house more prisoners than any other country and we cannot afford to continue the associated costs.

Why not legislation to ensure a firewall at the end of the third grade. No reading/math proficiency — no promotion. Fund programs to get remedial assistance to get those kids up to speed. Remember, 68 percent of state prison populations are made up of people lacking a high school diploma. California plans is prison bed projections based upon the standard deviation from the mean on third grade reading tests.

Taking away Hembree’s TV is good. It is just not enough of a start. Republicans and Democrats are both too busy bashing each other to think of ideas that ought to be discussed as adults. We can do better.