NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Over the past weekend, articles in The Transcript confirmed what many have long thought to be the case: The Oklahoma economy depends on prisoners for jobs and the counties, this time Cleveland in particular, depend on those who commit petty crimes or suffer from addiction to fund vital court services.
In Joy Hampton’s article on Saturday, Jan. 26, she states that the ever-increasing “supply” of prisoners has created the demand for new employees at the jail. On Sunday, Jan. 27, Mick Hinton’s story reports that the local DA’s office depends on check forgers, drug addicts and DUIs to fund the prosecution of those accused of serious crimes such as rape and murder.
I find both Ms. Hampton’s statement and the facts in Mr. Hinton’s story to be astounding admissions of desperate attempts to provide economic opportunity and essential law enforcement on the cheap.
Rather than offer prisons and jails as great job options, we need employment opportunities that will enhance the quality of life for all Oklahomans. And while we all want heinous crimes prosecuted and dangerous criminals incarcerated, it is morally reprehensible to do so on the backs of those who, with treatment and support, may go on to live productive lives.