100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

November 11, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-11-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



The Mi-rhigan Ba'tly
Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, M1 48109

Prison

is

very

costly

and

I

does more harm than good

Thursday, November 1 , 1976

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Oil price bike could
spell more ec0nHomic gloom

THE OIL BARONS have done It
again. It appears almost cer-
tain now that the ministers of the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) will agree to an
increase in the price of their oil from
anywhere between 10 and 25 per cent.
For anyone who uses oil products,
which means just about everybody,
this means higher prices since the
OPEC crude figures so "prominently
In the amount of world-wide produc-
tion. -
For the countries of Europe, the
United States, and Japan - whose
economies are already in a collec-
tive slump - this can only come as
more bad news. With the costs of
production of consumer and Indus-
trial goods being increased by this,
both unemployment and prices will
Increase. Yet the OPEC, nations say.
that they need the price increases
because of inflation in the West
which has made the products that
they buy more costly. Thus, a vicious
circle ensues, with inflation in one
begetting more in the other.
For the United States, which im-
ports 40 per cent of its oil, the hike in
foreign oil prices will affect its un-
employment and prices less than In
other Western nations, which import

nearly all of their oil; however, the
economy will still be unable to ab-
sorb the full impact of it without
some loss in either direction. With
such a large rate of unemployment
and unexceptably high inflation al-
ready, the prospects are grim indeed.
To offset the effects of this action
by the foreign petroleum price-fixers,
we must either develop alternative
forms of energy or lower the costs
of other products used in industry.
We would hate to have to lower pol-
lution standards, or to rush headlong
into dangerous forms of energy, so
the former route appears blocked ex-
cept for the most eminent alterna-
tive energy source of all,-conserva-
tion. The second route is also limited
with respect to government action
except for easing the money supply
and thus loweringt the interest rate.
Either way, difficult decisions will7
have to be made as the struggle for
recovery receives yet another setback.
TODAY'S STAFF:
News: Tim Schick, Jeff Ristine, BillI
Turque, Jay Levin, Laurie Young,
Eileen Daley, Bill Yaroch
Editorial Page: Rob Meachum, Tom
Stevens, Jon Pansius
Arts Page: Lois JosimovichI
Photo Technician: Pauline Lubens

By SUSAN HILDEBRANDT
IT'S NO SECRET TODAY that pri-
soners face a brutal life behind
bars - one of deprivation, assault,
loneliness and anger. But to many peo-
ple, they are offenders with a debt
to. pay and society needs the protec
tion of its cells.
Not, however, to the Michigan Coal-
ition for Prison Alternatives (MCPA),
a statewide coalition of individuals and
organizations dedicated to ending pri-
son construction in favor of "less ex-
pensive and more humane and effec-
tive alternatives."
MCPA members believe that increas-
ed prison construction provides no solu-
tion to the grime problem and perpetu-
ates an uniust and inhumane correc-
tions system. The Coalition, according
to spokesperson Marc Mauer, strives
to establish a moratorium on prison
construction or expansion in Michigan
and devolep and implement alterna-
tives which "offer greater protection
for society and more just treatment-
for the offender."
"Prisons have been a failure since
their inception," stated Matier. "In
Michigan, 70-80 per cent of all releas-
ed offenders will return to prison. And
prisons are enormously expensive: the
Department of Corrections' proposed
budget for 1976-'77 is $80 million with
most of that money going for -prison-
related expenses. In Michigan, we are
faced with the twin problems of steadi-
ly increasing crime rates and an ex-
panding system which is unable to
provide any effect on crime. Obvious-
ly, we are paying a high price for a
system that is not working very well."
SOCIETY CANNOT eliminate crime
or its effects until, it conquers poverty
and economic and racial discrimina-'
tion, according to MCPA. Until that
time, prisons, must be abolished and
their construction halted because they
often increase the likelihood that of-
fenders, most of whom are poor, un-
educated, minority men, will become
"repeaters" upon release, MCPA con-
tends.
"Fancier and more humane prisons
have been suggested for over 100 years,
with no significant difference," Mauer
stated. "The failure is in the institu-
tion of the prison, not in the particu-
lar conditions of any isolated prison.
Prisons don't protect the public and
they don't rehabilitate criminals."
The Coalition concedes, however,
that some people are truly dangerous
to themselves and others and must be
temporarily isolated from society in

a setting that assures the public's
protection and helps the offender.
Eighty per cent of the people behind
bars, though, are not violent, accord-
ing to the Department of Corrections.
For these people, prisons are the least
workable option, MCPA asserts.
THE.COALITION offers many sug-
gestions for improving the criminal
justice system and alleviating prison
and jail overcrowding without building
more facilities.
Decriminalizing "victimless crimes"
is one recommendation. This includes
such crimes as prostitution, durg use,
alcoholism and gambling which, accord-
ing to MCPA, only affect individuals
involved and do not harm society.
"Rather than processing these per-
sons through the criminal justice sys-
tem, society can offer volunteer thera-
pv programs or leave them alone,"
Mauer offered.
Reforming the bail system to enable
those people too poor to post bail to
leave jail would end the need to build
new detention facilities, according to
MCPA Eighty to 90% of the persons
who .presently fill jails are awaiting
trial and have not been convicted of
crimes, yet they cannot collect suffic-
ient money for release, Department of
Corrections statistics reveal.
Pre-trial release should be based on
a person's ties to the community and
their likelihood of appearing for trial,
MCPA claims. The Coalition also firm-
ly supports programs which assist ar-
restees in obtaining money to pay bail
bondsmen.
PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION, which al-
lows defendants to utilize community
resources rather than the justice sys-
tem to construct better personal liv-
ing 'situations is another MCPA sug-
gestion. Particular categories of crime
may be "diverted" out of the justice
system under this program, thereby
reducing court, prison and jail conges-
tion and keeping such defendants from
establishing prison records.
"Defendants who have proved to be
successful during the diversionary peri-
od have their cases dismissed," Mauer
explained. "These programs can be
utilized as models for all aspects of
the justice system to develop commu-
nity based corrections. They have been
very successful in many areas of the
country."
Halfway houses also serve as viable
alternatives to prisons, according to
the Coalition. Located in the commu-
nity, these alternatives enable offend-
ers to live in a community-based set-

ting under the supervision of counse-
lors who assist in their readjustment
to the community. In this way, Mauer
says, offenders are more productively
integrated into society, their communi-
ty ties remain unbroken, and they are
less likely to commit other crimes.
REALLOCATING PRISON construc-
tion money for probation services also
lessens prison failure, MCPA main-
tains. By increasing the number of
probation officers and community-bas-
ed services, courts could more fre-
quently rely on this "oldest and most
widely accepted alternative to incar-
ceration."
"By placing more offenders on pro-
bation with sufficient supervision, ef-
ficiency and financial savings will re-
sult," Mauer informed.
Another alternative to the present
penal system lies in reforming the
parole system to make it "a more
democratic and comprehensive proce-
dure for determining release," MCPA'
believes.
"The parole system arbitrarily de-
cides when an inmate is qualified for
release from prison. Decisions are oft-
en based on limited information and
only brief discussionstwith inmates.
themselves," Mauer stated. "Elimina-
tion of parole in favor of 'flat time,
(guaranteed release following a specific
sentencing time) would also be more
effective and take away that unknow-
ing, hanging feeling inmates often
have." ,
EACH SUGGESTED alternative is
intended to better society as well as
individual offenders. The use of resti-
tution - compensating crime victims
- does so perhaps more than all oth-,
ers. Under this proposal, offenders.
would pay back their victims during
a reasonable period for such crimes
as larceny, embezzlement, breaking
and entering and petty theft. The Coali-
tion suggests that this accompany pro-
bation to assure full restitution. More
than one-third of all offenses are
against property, according to the De-
partment of Corrections.
Incarcerated individuals account for'
only one and one-half per cent of the
total crimes committed in the United
States, the Coalition points out. How-
ever, 400,000 people presently fill pri-
son and jail cells throughout the coun-
try, at an average annual cost of
$12,000 per person. This money, accord-
ing to MCPA, could easily support
alternatives to. imprisonment and would
separate inmates from the prison con-

ditions which the -Coalition finds re-
sponsible for their eventual bitterness
- severe punishment, poor recreation-
al, educational and social facilities,
drug experimentation and sexual at-
tacks.
Longer prison sentences are often
advised for treating offenders, a poli-
cy with which the Coalition strongly
disagrees.
"SINCE PRISONS rarely achieve
their goal of rehabilitation and most in-
mates are eventually released to the
streets, longer sentences will not pro-
tect society in really significant ways,"
remarked Mauer. "Unless inmates are
locked up for life, which is very un-
realistic and extremely harsh, we must
accept the fact that they will be re-
leased at some point and must be pro-
vided with skills and opportunities to
help them function constructively. Con-
ditions that exist in prisons today will
not assist them in a smooth transi-
tion," he continued.
Mauer contends that longer prison
sentences may actually increase a per-
son's chances of committing a crime
when released. He added that since the
U.S. has almost the highest incarcera-
tion and crime rates in the world; im-
prisoning people does not deter crime.
Despite the Coalition's contentions
that prisons are. inhumane, ineffective
and expensive, Michigan recently al-
located more than $46 million to con-
struct eight new prison facilities in the
next three years to handle a projected
23 per cent increase in the prisoner
population, indicating that the Depart-
ment of Corrections does not plan to
implement alternatives.
MAUER DOES NOT FEEL that this
increase in the prisoner population is
inevitable, claiming it is based on an
increase in felony convictions, longer
prison stays, a reduced usage of pro-
bation, and new laws requiring manda-
tory sentencing for certain crimes.
"We believe that building new pri-
sons only diverts funds that could be
better used for alternatives. All are
less costly and more humane than pri-
son and we'll all be better protected
in the long run. The Coalition believes
that the crime problem is great. There-
fore, we urge all citizens to become
involved in efforts to develop more just
solutions.
"We must stop this wasteful con-
struction - all that is required is a
diversion of funds and public atten-
tion from the building of more prisons
to alternative systems," Mauer con-
cluded.

LETTERS

To The Daily:
FROM ITS BRUTAL and uncompromising.
stand in negotiations with the GEO it is
clear what the University administration
Wants: to bust all campus unions. With the
economic "recovery" on the rocks, the
capitalists offer the inflation-ravaged work-
ing people peanut-boss politicians, massive
unemployment and concerted union-busting
drives. Students as well face attacks such
as increased tuition, elimination of special
programs and no sure prospect of employ-
ment after graduation. At the University,
the administration has effectively backed
the GEO into a corner. As a result, the
strikehvote was rsoundlydefeated with
little hope left for a settlement on any┬░-
thing but Fleming's terms. The Spartacus
Youth League opposes this vicious union-
busting campaign and calls on all students
and campus workers to defend the GEO
against these capitalist attacks!
A union is a necessary tool in the strug-
gle over living standards, ;:11 conditions
and wages. However, time and a.in the
GEO leadership has forfeited the fight be-
fore it has begun. Its wage demands were
a paltry S peer cent. It was quick to com-
promise with the administration on most
job-condition issues. Even the GEO's Af-
firmative Action plan, which promised to
undercut discrimination against minorities
and women, was rendered meaningless by
the GEO leadership's plea for the ad-
ministration's "good faith effort to imple-
ment the plan! The SYL opposes the race,
sex and class bias inherent in the educa-,
tional system and supports any attempt
to undercut racial and sexual discrimina-_
tion in the universities. However, real, last-
ing gains can only be the result of a fight
for totally free higher education, open ad-
missions for all who wish to learn, and a
full stipend to enable all youth to go to
school.
AFTER MONTHS of retreat and capitu-

lation by the GEO leadership, most of the
membership saw little hope in a strike re-
sulting in the failure of the strike vote.
Fearful that a strike would confront mas-
sive .scab-herding and little staff and stu-
dent support, the GEO membership faced
the prospect of losing their pobs. The
weakness of the GEO stemming from a lack
of unity among the campus unions fed into
the current demoralization of the GEO
ranks. Lacking the strength and social po-
sition to seriously challenge capitalist rule,
divided from the other campus unions and
presented with the GEO leadership's no-
win strategy, the present defatism ram-
pant in the GEO and the rumoredtdecer-
tification campaign result from the lack
of a leadership based on a class-struggle
program. The decertification of UAW local
2001 (clericals) last summer reflected a
similar demoralization and defeatism
flowing from the leadership's failure to
fight the university's attacks along mili-
tant, class-struggle lines. Any decertifica-
tion attempt must be defeated!
A winning strategy for the GEO must
include the call for a campus-wide union
from janitors to professors, excluding cam-
pus cops and supervisory personnel. Such
a campus-wide union, affiliated to a na-
tional public employees' union, has the
power to weld the entire campus workforce
into a collective force capable of defending
and extending gains at the expense of' the
capitalist administration and smashing at-
tacks, like Fleming's' current union-busting.
Further, we call for the abolition of the
bosses' administration and its replacement
with teacher-student campus worker con-
trol of the university, to democratize the
schools at the expense of bourgeois author-
ity an dstate bureaucratic interference in
the educational process.
SPARTACUS YOUTH LEAGUE
November 9

Health

Service

Handbook

By SYLVIA HACKER Down's syndrome (mongolism)
and NANCY PALCHIK and, as it can determine the
Question: sex of the fetus, it is helpful in
I'VE HEARD THAT there is such sex related disorders as
a procedure that would en- hemophilia and Duchenne mus-
able a pregnant woman to find cular dystrophy. It has also been
out if her baby were going to used to detect Tay-Sachs and
be born with any birth defects. other diseases.
Is this true? If so, could you AMNIOCENTESIS is most
tell me more about it? useful for women who have al-
Answer: ready borne a defective child,
The prenatal diagnostic proce- have a family history of a ge-
dure you have probably heard netic defect (or whose husbands
about is called amniocentesis. do) or who are over the age of
It is usually performed during 35 (the risk of birth defects in-
the 15th or 16th week of preg- creases with the mother's age).
nancy and involves inserting a A Northwestern University
hollow needle through the moth- study shows the procedure to
er's abdomen into the uterus, be remarkably accurate (out of
and withdrawing a sample of 700 women tested, only 3 diag-
the fluid surrounding the fetus noses were incorrect). It also
(amniotic fluid). This fluid appears to be safe. One govern-
contains cast-off fetal cells mental study comparing 1040
which can then be analyzed for women who received amniocen-
signs of genetic defects. Al- tesis with a matched group who
though the procedure is only did not, showed no significant
helpful in detecting genetic dis- difference in complications to
orders (as it involves an analy- either the mother or the child.
sis of fetal chromosomes), the Some people have criticized
number of such conditions for prenatal diagnosis on the
which it is being used is widely grounds that it encourages abor-
growing. It can usually reveal tion in those cases where the
L e t te r s:

fetus has a high probability of
being born defective. While this
is probably the case (and some
might argue, appropriately so),
more often the !procedure serves
to reassure worried couples that
the anticipated defects are not
present (in the above mentioned
governmental study of 95.7 per
cent of the women undergoing
the procedure learned that the
suspected defect was absent,
and in a National Foundation-
March of Dimes study the com-
parable figure was 97.2 per
cent). In addition, in some in-
stances, prenatal diagnosis may
allow the fetus to be success-
fully treated prior to birth.
Question:
Would you please answer a
question my friends and I have
been wondering about for a
long time. Why aren't condoms
placed pn regular display

shelves in drug stores like any
other nonprescription item? Is
there any logical reason for the
current practice of "hiding"
them behind -the counter?
Bringing them out into the 'open
would certainly make, it ,a lot
easier to purchase them.
Answer:
W/E ARE IN FULL agree-
ment. Placing condoms on
open display shelves would'
make it a lot easier for the con-
sumer to compare the various
brands with regard to special
features (tips, lubrication etc.)
and prices, just as one would
want to do with any other non-
prescription item. It would also
minimize the traditional embar-
rassment that many men (and
incidentally, women too) feel
when they have to search out a
salesnerson to inquire about
purchasing condoms. This

would encourage responsible
contraceptive use.
Unfortunately M i c h i g a n
is one of those states that has a
distinct rule regarding the sale
of condoms. Specifically, they
must be dispensed by a pharma-
cist and cannot be a self-service
item. This, by the way, is also
the reason why they cannot be
sold in vending machines as is
the practice in some states.
Incidentally, this rule does
not apply to contraceptive
foams, creams and jellies and
these nonprescription items are
found on open display in phar-
macies. So condom users of
Michigan-unite!
Send any health related ques-
tions to:
Health Educators
U-M Health Service
207 Fletcher
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

taff
Candidates wrong on abortion

* 1(E'y ' }
, . I

By Marnie Heyn I

Buckley-ioynihan
To The Daily:
I AM A LIBERAL Democrat
from New York. James Buck-
ley represents all the policies
I deeply oppose. Mr. Buckley's
election to the U. S. Senate was,
in my opinion, a sad episode in
New York political history. Let
us, however, be fair.
Keith Richburg, in his dis-
gustingly (and laughably) bias-
ed "analysis" of the New York
Senate race, did an extreme
disservice to the liberals he
obviously represents. His apolo-
gy for Buckley's "distorted
sense of reality" by assuring
us that not just Jim but broth-
er' Bill and the rest of the
Buckley clan are all "dement-
:rl enhn s pnrc-ahta ad

Finally, Richburg's character-
ization of conservative philoso-
phy as "demented," and his
statement that "normal people
will tend to laugh off" conserva-
tive Buckley are astounding.
My goodness, Mr. Richburg,
you take a modern political
philosophy dating back to the
19th Century originally es-
poused by such luminaries as
Edmund Burke and Chateau-
briand, and you chop it to
pieces in one photograph! Wow!
Even Eric Severeid couldn't do
that!
Look Keith. I detest Mr.
Buckley's political philosophy
as much as you do. I fervently
hope he is defeated on Nov. 2.
But fair is fair. To attack Buck-
ley personally, to call him "sick
and demented" serves no pur-
pose. It serves only to alienate
*I n _ inr annnrnn .snyln :rncr

ABORTION AS A CAMPAIGN issue played a
peculiar role in our recent presidential elec-
tion (which may be the most under-interpreted
jingoist race within memory). Both candidates
are unalterably opposed, personally, to abortion,
but apparently feel that a Constitutional amend-
ment to prohibit abortion, and thus wiggle around
the 1972 Supreme Court ruling, is either too much
work or too big a can of worms - a strange posi-
tion for two men who were promising energetic,
moral leadership. Perhaps they were trying to
out-waffle each other.
The Council of Catholic Bishops ambushed Car-
ter and gnashed their teeth vigorously; then the
"Catholic vote" fell into its traditional Demo-
cratic slot. Was the Catholic laity sending a
message to Rome? Was some arcane chemistry
drawing Catholic voters to Carter respite his posi-
tion on abortion, which was, superficially at
lease, identical to Ford's? Apparently the heavy-
duty media pundits weren't confused by all this
-but then they called Dole a "wit" instead of a
bully so what could they know?

the ERA, and the anti-abortion people were stuf-
fing envelopes.
Perhaps all this lack of fervor 'is really tacit
support for the Supreme Court ruling (or, alter-
nately, wallowing in the status quo). And, possi-
bly, part of the defusing of anti-abortion senti-
ment can be explained with the help of another,
non-electoral, statistic: according to the Center
for Disease Control in Atlanta, three (3) women
died during 1975 as a medical consequence of
illegal abortions. Even when the 74 deaths fol-
lowing legal abortions are added to that figure,
the total is nowhere nearly as horrifying as the
tens of thousands of instances of maternal moral-
itv that were racked up each year preceding the
1972 Supreme Court ruling (although 77 is prob-
ably still too many).
SINCE FEWER WOMEN who condone abor-
tion are dying each year, the suitably Darwinian
result is that more people who favor abortion
will be around to vote. And without being too
nastily sophistic, it is possible to argue that the
Supreme Court's 1972 format conforms to the

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan