Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - April 1, 2008

Probation doesn't work for everyone

In response to your recent editorial regarding whether former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel should go to jail, you question whether the money spent to keep him in jail is worth it. You ask, "Is this money well spent?"

After reading your opinion, my question is, will more money be spent on a closely supervised probation program with mandatory drug treatment and education plus job training, or the money it takes to put him in jail? These services will not be free! And I know the taxpayer will probably pick up the tab on this.

If this type of program would improve people and make them better for our society, it might be worth it. But if we take a look at our probation system as it is now, it seems to me that these people keep coming back before the courts. Each time the crimes they commit are worse than the time before. I think that these individuals see probation as a weakness in our court system. I do not think this applies to everyone who goes to court for drug use, but to some it does.

I, for one, think people like Ravenel feel as if the are above the law. They seem to do whatever they want to do in our society and dare the system to judge them for it. They have the money to do whatever they wish and think they should get by with it.

In Ravenel's case, I do not think he will become a thief or killer to get the drugs he wants in the future. But others with less income do steal and kill to get the money to support their habit. And then the taxpayer will keep on paying to house them in our jails and prisons!

I do not have the answers to all of this, but do question how the money is best spent. This is a serious question in our world today, as the war on drugs has been lost. I think the courts should follow the trail to where these drugs come from that Mr. Ravenel could get at any time he wanted them. Follow this as far as it takes them to, and try to get this mess off the streets. That would be money better spent.

Ron Jones