Early learning and safety
I completely agree with the opinions expressed by Alan Walker and Steve Leahy in their recent commentary “Early learning: Smart investment.” As sheriff, I especially appreciate that in addition to discussing the economic benefits of investing in early learning, they mentioned the connection between early learning and lower crime.
Few would argue that success in school provides the necessary foundation for kids to be “productive and skilled workers.” What may be less understood is the role that high-quality early childhood education plays in crime reduction. Research has shown that when children who are at the greatest risk of school failure attend high-quality preschool programs they are much more likely to do well in school and graduate. In one study, low-income kids who participated in a high-quality preschool were 44 percent more likely to graduate from high school than kids in the control group. This is of particular importance to law enforcement, since high school dropouts are three and a half times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested, and more than eight times more likely to be incarcerated.
In Washington state and throughout the country, nearly 70 percent of jail and prison inmates have not received a high school diploma. My job as sheriff is to make Chelan County a safe place to live, work and raise a family. I am confident that increased state and federal funding for high-quality early learning, along with smart policing, will create safer communities for all of us.
Chelan County sheriff
I am opposed to any involvement in the civil war in Syria. The president has convinced me that Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people. That is a war crime and a moral outrage and he should be punished and punished again until he stops. What the president has not convinced me of is that the United States should do the job. It is a no-win situation for us.
I believe the Arab League has the responsibility and the resources to deter him. They are at risk — it is their neighborhood and they have the moral authority to act with the support of any Muslim or Arab with a sense of decency.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize a limited operation to reduce his ability and to deter him from doing it again with a bi partisan vote of 10-7. With the support of AIPAC the Senate will likely pass the resolution.
It is easy to predict what the House Republicans will do. They will vote to overturn Obamacare.
I am currently an inmate at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center. My crime is check forgery totalling $250 here in Chelan County. While I, and the dozen or so other inmates that I am surrounded by day in and day out, understand the need for police, courts, jails and prisons — for without these ours would be a lawless society — what we don’t understand, and are amazed and appalled by on an almost daily basis, are the crimes versus punishments in this county and also across the rest of the state and the nation as a whole.
I am looking at 22 to 29 months in prison for my crime. Fellow inmates are doing 240 to 330 days for driving while license suspended, 400 days for shoplifting, 90 days for fourth-degree assault (fighting with our girlfriend or wife). The list goes on. While we are deprived of our loved ones, we are allowed access to the newspaper and the news on television and what we are seeing is not a pretty picture of the legal justice system. Crimes such as first-degree rape of a child, child pornography, rapes of adults and other sexually motivated crimes are being dropped down to lower charges such as communicating with minors for immoral purposes, fourth-degree assault or just thrown out of court, period! The common sentences we are seeing for these crimes after the charges are lowered are 30 to 90 days in jail with or without probation, and sometimes just probation.
To us this seems ridiculous. While we know we must be punished for our crimes, it seems that the sliding sentencing scales by which we are punished definitely needs to be recalculated or replaced, for it is a sad day for this nation when a driving offense or a theft is deemed more serious than a rape of a child or any other sexually motivated crime against anybody.
We pray our families are safe from these predators while they are free to roam, as we do months and years in here, unable to protect them.
Although I’m sure you are aware of these atrocities because it is your publication we get most of our facts from, I just wanted to voice our opinion.
Chelan County Regional Jail
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