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Get smart on crime

Re: Nolan Finley’s May 17 column, “Get road money from Michigan’s prison budget”: The challenge is that many politicians on the right ran for office by scaring us about “criminals,” many of whom were from the inner city and wrong ethnic groups. It worked and they won elections. It will not be easy to get them to walk this back. Creative solutions and not forcing them to admit the errors and perhaps morality of the old approach will be helpful. Since Nolan Finley is well regarded by people on the right, perhaps his efforts can give some cover so there’s not a political price that will deter legislators from making the best choices.

Neal Charness, Detroit

Treat marijuana differently

You can’t cut the prison population and reduce costs without first, and foremost, ending the draconian and ridiculous penalties for marijuana. As you pointed out, there are obscene costs racked up for such a benign plant. Unfortunately the courts and counties and jurisdictions generate revenue as they pass these costs on to those who get arrested.

You simply can’t reduce the prison population without reforming how marijuana is treated by the legal system.

Bob Sanders, Grand Rapids

Prison is big business

Corrections in this state is big business. There are way too many people earning a living off the misfortunes of others to effect a serious look here. Think about how many lawyers, state police, county sheriffs, police officers, prison guards and probation officers who would be affected by the mere suggestion of revamping Michigan’s corrections system.

Mike Hughes, Brighton

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