Dear Editor:

When my wife and I were touring old colonial Williamsburg, Virginia a few years ago, we couldn't help but be amazed over what little rights, if any, prisoners had back in those early days in the pre American colonies. As we sat in the old courthouse, listening to the historical tour guide explain how convicted law breakers were prosecuted back then, we compared this to the "too many rights" given to criminal's today in America. We were told, there were no large prisons needed during the colonial times, because people who broke the laws of the land were punished severely according to their crime with very few repetitive offenses, or upon a fair trial they were executed.

Today, it seems like no matter what the magnitude of the crime committed, as a prisoner enters the "correctional facility" ( we don't dare call it "jail" anymore, because it sounds too degrading, I suppose. ) they still obtain all of their so called legal human rights, along with more privileges, and opportunities then most of us law biding citizens have. When does the punishment for the crime committed begin? Is this prison system we have today really rehabilitating prisoners to become worthy citizens, able to live honestly among us once again? Or is the system just granting them some time away from society, like a long vacation? Does the prisoner really learn to actually reconsider what they've done wrong, and change moralistically in sincerely wanting to clean up their past transgressions?

I believe, this modern day correctional program for handling the criminal element in the United States is not working adequately enough, and this is why even though our economy is dwindling, our prison system is thriving with over crowdedness. Jail, as it should be called, has realistically become a better way of life for a lot of criminals today, and not as a deterrent from continuing their way of crime. Our correctional program has become like; the parents that "spoiled" their child too much, and refuse to administer any necessary punishment or much needed discipline for which suits the crime as need be.

Easy going, too liberal ideology has no place in our prison system today and only strict conservative rules should be applied, and must be continually enforced upon a convicted "jailbird", so once they are released from serving their time, they will not want to continue with their lifestyle of crime.

John M. "Jack" Selby

Hometown