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Fixing Prisons? 

Editor:

I was horrified to read the article about the state of the California prison system ("To Redeem a Felon," Sept. 27) and somewhat heartened about the process of "realignment" that is going on now as a first step to try to relieve the overcrowding. Even though I knew about the state of prisons in our country/state, to read the statistics is staggering. We have been dealing with social problems by putting people in prison in an environment that is not only not rehabilitative but outright toxic and helps to harden people already struggling with major individual and societal problems.

To read of private prisons is chilling. It's not surprising that this system has gone the way of our health care, food, educational arenas and so many other areas of need. Making commodities out of everything causes the breakdown of that system. This shows how broken our society is that we would allow someone to make a business of running a prison (or an illness or a war or ... ).

Engaging Humboldt's citizens in this "realignment" process is the way to go. Let us know how we can get involved in the support of this effort so that we participate in making our communities safer and support all citizens. Thank you to those in corrections, law enforcement, public defender, local businesses and social services that are collaborating on this. Maybe if we rethink our priorities as a county, state and nation we won't have to wait for a crisis to deal more effectively and humanely with an issue.

Lynn Kerman, Myrtletown

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