Their budgets in crisis, governors, legislators, and prison officials across the nation are making or considering policy changes that will likely remove tens of thousands of offenders from prisons and parole supervision.
David Crary, Prisons Feeling Budget Crunch. A.P.

So, common cents may accomplish what common sense could not. Alternatives to prison always made sense, fiscally and as a correctional approach; but it took the current budget stress to force public officials to consider other, better ways to deal with many of the people convicted of crimes.

The Fix is in on Blago

Americans love a political scoundrel. And God knows we’ve seen a lot of them.

Mayor James Michael Curley ruled Boston from his prison cell. Wilbur Mills had his Ways and Means with stripper Fannie Fox. And James Traficant cried “Beam me up, Mr. Speaker” all the way to his federal prison cell.

But we’ve never seen any scoundrel quite like Rod Blagojevich.

Mexico's Growing Threat

Viciously attacked from all sides, our great nation is forced to turn its attention to that which is immediately present, while paying little notice to long-term threats with frighteningly powerful, unhinging capabilities. The historic election of President Obama, a sluggish economy and two wars have created a thick fog with low visibility.

Once clearly on the national security radar, Mexico border security has nearly disappeared from our sights. Mexico is facing its own battle within — and they're not winning their internal struggle.

Thoughts on Capital Punishment

The blurb in The New York Times today caught my eye, and proved a point. Americans — right or left — need to clear their heads about capital punishment.

Today’s blurb (A21) reports that Richard Cooey, convicted of raping and killing two women in 1986, unsuccessfully appealed his execution to the United Sates Supreme Court. His reason: he is 5-foot-6 and weighs 267 pounds, so a lethal injection under Ohio law might cause Cooey agonizing pain, in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Lie and Order

I admit it. I watch "Law and Order.” I'm not proud of that, considering its leading players are cynical cops who routinely bully each and every citizen they encounter and prosecutors who daily violate the letter and spirit of the Constitution in their simple-minded effort to convict or execute anyone they've decided is a "bad guy.”

What? That's not what the show’s characters are about? They're heroes, not thugs, you say? The program is a look at the brutal world of crime-fighting on the mean streets, you say?

We're both right. It is a jungle out there. Except that while celebrating the exploits of our so-called protectors, it glosses over their willingness to run roughshod over our fundamental rights in their zealous pursuit of truth, justice and the American way.

Crackdown on Underage Drinking

From Brussels, Belgium

Law enforcement has cracked down on underage drinking. The peer pressure of a child drinking before he or she can legally purchase alcohol is not only unbearable, but unlawful. Some kids even drink in secrecy, or with the help of parents or older adults.

If you are a teenage drinker, or guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, stop! Laws are put in place for a reason, and just because a teenager thinks that he can handle the responsibilities that come with drinking doesn’t make it right or legal. Adults who provide alcohol to minors are also at fault, and should be punished.

Nurtured Assassins

While America is consumed with the next president, the Iraqi conflict and all things political, there's a home execution phenomenon sweeping every geographic location of this country that demands closer examination.

I spoke to my brother Bruce recently and he was telling me the story of the Pringle family, a 40-year-old mother, her 22-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, who all lived under the same roof in Mullins, S.C. The son had become so strung out on drugs, mean-spirited, dangerous and life-threatening, that the mother decided to put him out, realizing that if she didn't, their lives were in serious jeopardy.

The Kilpatrick Indictments

Another week, another mea culpa from a high-profile black politician. What in the world is going on? Last week, the barely inaugurated governor of New York admitted that he had not one but several extramarital affairs with a variety of women. Never mind that former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) was forced to resign from office over a sex scandal — I only wish that Gov. Peterson had decided to reveal his own related news before rather than following his inauguration.

Why? Because it brings up questions of how elected officials go about protecting and defending the trust that the public has placed in them as individuals to represent their interests. Which leads us to the immediate case with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) of Detroit. How in the world did he find himself in this mess?

Outraged by UNC Murder

Following the murder or UNC student Eve Carson, Armstrong Williams says cops need to get serious about keeping communities safe and prosecuting criminals.

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