Letters to the Editor

June 2, 2014

Cushy prison teaches what?

Well, well, well. Boy, did the incarceration of ex-judge Michael Cook and ex-probation officer James Fogarty in a minimum security institution in Florida hammer them. Two years in a country club for Cook -- brunches, everyday clothes, a job in the community, visits authorized away from the prison, etc. This will teach them and all of the rest of the white-collar criminals that their actions do not pay.

Or on second thought, but heaven forbid, maybe they should have been sentenced, as other members of their group were, to a "normal" prison setting, where the extended group could all have been together laughing and joking as they shared their adventures of the last few years.

This incarceration will not set an example and place fear in the hearts of others committing like crimes. Maybe the same harsh and mostly justified sentencing we routinely hand out to the common criminal would really set the example. However, for some likely self-serving purpose, individuals with connections or certain levels of education or supposedly "important" positions are routinely provided this type of preferential treatment.

We can feel compassion for all of those who have fallen; however, when the chosen and elite are treated differently, they do not have a chance to benefit from "meaningful impact," which might -- might -- offer them a chance to reflect on what their past conduct really was all about and hopefully allow them to work toward a new beginning.

Dick Barrett


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