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March 05, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-05

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4A - Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

L71 he Iicl igan 43atim


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Freeing up funding
State should improve probation programs for offenders
M ichigan prisons consume around 90 percent of the state's
corrections spending. Sound excessive? It gets even
worse when one considers that two thirds of the people
who should be benefiting from projects funded by this money aren't
even inside these prisons. With a report released Monday find-
ing that one in every 27 Michigan adults are in jail, on probation
or parole, it's long past time to take a closer look at how the state
spends money on corrections. Michigan lawmakers should invest in
better supervision for offenders to be monitored outside of the jail
cell, not just because it's in their economic best interests to do so but
also because this strategy would emphasize the rehabilitative pur-
pose of the state corrections department.

,l ' ABOT F , 4Est -js



A movement for liberty


Monday's report by the Pew Center on
the States estimated that there are about 5.1
million people on probation or parole in the
United States - a number that tripled from
1982 to 2007. Including prisoners behind
bars, the number exceeds 7.3 million.
Michigan in particular has the 13th high-
est rate of adults under community super-
vision or behind bars. And while costs for
a prison inmate average nationally around
$29,000, the cost for a parolee or proba-
tioner ranges from only $1,250-$2,250.
Considering Michigan's current economic
troubles, allowing low-risk inmates to take
advantage of correctional probation and
parole programs would be a smart way to
save money.
Due to Michigan's strict release policies,
the state has considerably more people in
prison for longer periods of time. A high rate
of prisoners costs the state more money -
money that could be saved if more prison-
ers were released to community supervision
programs. This saving from downsizingpris-
on spending could be redirected to improve
Michigan's current probation and parole
programs. 'The Michigan Prison Re-Entry
Initiative already has programs in place
designed to help successfully guide prison-
ers back into their communities. The state
can the use money saved to improve these
community supervision strategies through
advances in technology.
By developing better technology for reha-
bilitation programs in the community, such
as electric monitoring and rapid-result drug
and alcohol tests, supervisors can better keep

the offender on the right track. The offend-
ers will also benefit because this gives them
a better opportunity for transitioning back
into society. The greatest returns will come
to the state by implementing programs that
decrease recidivism rates, save money on
prison spending and rehabilitate the inmate
Better technology and programs are mak-
ing it much easier to monitor offenders on
parole. In states like Hawaii, for example,
a focus on the rehabilitation of offenders
in their own communities has proven to be
effective. Participants are offered programs
with extensive counseling and treatment,
and are required to comply with regular drug
tests, office visits and treatment require-
ments. Programs that are more specialized
to the specific needs and interests of the
individual offenders are more likely to be
successful. Michigan correctional programs
should adopt creative programs like this
one that improve the corrections system in
Michigan and save the state money.
Through strengthened and expanded
community supervision strategies and tech-
nologies, the state can achieve long-term
solutions for the well-being of the prisoners
and the economy. It's time to follow the lead
of other states and start reducing both the
money - and the people - funneling into
an outdated prison system. Many of these
prisoners can be safely overseen in their own
communities, working with extensive coun-
seling and treatment through the help of
improved technologies - that will save the.
state money that can be put to better use.

T heFeb. 16 editionofNewsweek
magazine had an interesting
but unsurprising cover story:
"We Are All Social-
ists Now". The
story demonstrat-
ed how the size of
the U.S.'s govern-
ment spending as
a percentage of the
economy is quickly
approaching Euro-
pean levels. Gov-
ernment spending PATRICK
was 34.3 percent of ZABAWA
the country's Gross
Domestic Prod-
uct a decade ago
- it's projected to be 39.9 percent in
2010. But despite Newsweek's argu-
ments that U.S. public policy is shift-
ing toward socialism, there are still
strong contingents of Americans who
are notsocialists. Forone, stronganti-
socialist movements are developing
on campuses across the world. And
Americans' increased opportunity
for choices ensure that their freedom
is increasing even as the government
takes over their banks. Indeed, we
are not all socialists now.
Yes, it's worth noting that Obama,
who favors an interventionist govern-
ment, attracted most of the country's
young voters. For every young adult
who voted for Republican candidate
John McCain on Election Day, two
voted for Obama. But while it may
seem that young voters are becoming
ever more socialist in their views, the
Ron Paul campaign revealed other-
wise. In many states' Republican pri-
mary elections, Paul - who supports
dismantling the federal income tax
and significantly shrinking the size of
government - received from young
voters nearly twice the percentage of
votes than he received from other age
groups. His college-student support
was bolstered by his frequent visits
to university campuses, and he even

spoke at the University of Michigan
while Obama and McCain did not.
But even now that the 2008 pres-
idential election is over and the
energy surrounding the Ron Paul
campaign has diminished, students
around the nation are continuing to
pursue efforts to counter the nation's
socialist policies. Just two weeks
ago, I joined students from college
campuses around the world for the
International Students for Liberty
Conference in Washington, D.C.
The conference, first held last year
by a group of Ivy League students,
brought together student leaders to
hold discussions with prominent pro-
liberty, anti-government advocates.
In just one year, the conference has
expanded to include students from
over a dozen countries outside the
United States.
One of the conference's keynote
speakers, editor in chief of Reason.
com Nick Gillespie, spoke not only
about how anti-government move-
ments are growing but why govern-
ment's growth hasn't prevented the
expansion of freedom. He argued
that despite increasing government
in the economy and our personal
lives, we are more free today than
ever before.
Gillespie's point was thought-
provoking and surprisingly accurate.
Over the past twenty years, the size of
the government has grownto unprec-
edented levels. Even the conservative
Bush administration enacted the
biggest social welfare program ever,
implemented senior prescription
drug coverage and nearly socialized
the banking and mortgage industries.
Government has become increasing-
ly involved in overseas warfare and
now has restricted gay marriage in
29 states.
But despite government's new
involvement in American's personal
and economic lives, Gillespie had a
point when he stated that we are in

fact more free today than we were
twenty years ago. We are more free
because we have more choice. Trav-
el opportunities abound as airlines
travel to nearly every small city in
the United States now, not only large
ones. The advent of personal comput-
ers, the Internet and cell phones has
brought about a new era of commu-
nication. Information is now acces-
sible to people of any educational
background through user-friendly
sources such as Wikipedia.

Why Americans
aren't as socialist
as they may seem.


It is the human desire for choice
that has continued to increase its
freedom. Choice has continued to
motivate innovators to make new
products and come up with new ways
for people to communicate. Socially,
more people tbday support the abil-
ity to "choose" to marry a partner
of the same sex or allow women the
right to "choose". Is the similar word
usage coincidental, deliberate or just
So while Newsweek argues that
we are all socialist now, students'
activism and the number of choices
we have today points to the contrary.
Yes, government is gaining more con-
trol of our lives at an alarming rate,
but there are many factors working
against that control. And as anti-
government student groups rise and
innovations continue to develop,
government will have many forces to
reckon with in its quest to limit our
- Patrick Zabawa can be reached
at pzabawa@umich.edu.

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke,
Sutha K Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee, Matthew Shutler,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
Coming out for acceptance

As the Michigan Student Assembly examines its own future on campus, the Daily would
like students to voice their opinions on what should be a part of its agenda.
Staying safe at school

I recently "came out of. the closet" and, to
my surprise, the world outside my little cha-
rade hasn't changed much - except for'a newly
found happiness, of course. I made this decision
a little after Christmas and I haven't looked back
since, but I have to admit that the decision itself
was the most difficult one I've ever had to make.
The pressure it presented and the unknown that
waited on the other side wasn't easy to set aside
or overcome. However, coming out has made
my life infinitely better, and other gay teenag-
ers should know that they don't have to live in an
environment that forces them to keep their sexu-
ality secret. I'm saying this in hopes that some-
one, somewhere will be helped by knowing that,
because I understand the fear, pain and doubt
that keepingthis secret creates.
For years, my sexuality was something I didn't
talk about even among my friends, and when the
topic was brought up I would begrudgingly spout
out mumbles, half-truths and lies. It was difficult,
but manageable. How hard is it to lie and say you
had a crush on some random girl from English?
The answer is surprisingly complex. It's both
the easiest and most difficult thing to do. This lie
makes you seem more "normal," but it, also rein-
forces the feelings inside you that you're some-
thing inferior.
I lived knowing that I wasn't being true to
myself I went through the motions of daily life
and kept myself excessively busy with clubs,
sports and organizations, but I knew all along
that it was to stop myself from thinking about the
part of myself I was covering up. It was suffocat-
ing and undeniably painful to lie to the entirety of
my family and friends - every sentence I uttered
needed to be checked and each action analyzed.
The consistent fear that someone would discover
my secret was the worst part. Slipping or making
a mistake was simply not an option.
Despite this dishonesty, I had an amaz-
ing high school experience. I was able to make
friends and form bonds without worrying about
being judged any more than the average teen-
ager. With my busy schedule, I found a love for
writing and athletics and steadily whittled away
the four years. Looking back, I wish I was strong
enough to come out back then because I think

high school would have felt more complete if
everyone knew, but emotionally I wasn't ready to
let everyone know what I had kept hidden since
grade school.
During my first year here at the University,
the strain of retaining my facade started to
become too much. I had trouble sleeping and,
despite the fact I was living away from home, I
still had to watch everything I said. Why could
other people live their lives and be happy, but I
couldn't? I decided to take my life into my own
hands and come out. After a near heart attack, I
was finally able to tell my parents what I wanted
to for years. Without a second's hesitation they
both said that I was their son, and their love for
me would never falter. For me, this was the most
liberating experience of my life, and I am more
than proud to say that I have been supported by
everyone I have told thus far. Ican only wish any
other gay person who makes this decision the
same luck.
The best advice I can give is to make sure
you're ready, because your life will change, hope-
fully it will be for the better, but it will doubtless-
ly change. Some people never tell a soul, others
come out in middle or high school. Others still,
But all teenagers struggling with their sexual-
ity should know that you're not alone. Despite
the way you may be feeling right now, you're not.
There are people you can talk to and steps you
can take. If you're not ready to tell your parents
or friends, call a hotline and talk about it. Maybe
there is one person you feel comfortable with: tell
them. The University offers help as well, and the
Spectrum Center exists for just this reason. The
center has a coming-out support program and
people are there just waitingto help you.
Instead of feeling isolated and weak, feel strong
- the first step is knowing you have options. I've
lived through my personal Dark Ages and I'm
stronger for it. I hope reading this helps at least
one person, because if it does, telling my story
was worth it. I'm gay: who cares? If you're gay
too, stand and be proud.
Matthew Shutler is an assistant
editorial page editor.

am not a doctor. And in all like-
lihood, neither are you. When it
comes time to learn about a part-
ner's sexual health
status, I, like you,
would simply like
to march down to
Fletcher Avenue,
talk my doctor's ear
off about my hand- :
some prospect and
await mutual posi-
tive results. ROSE
But the current
state of know- AFRIYIE
ing how sexually
healthy you are
sometimes has me feeling like I need
a professional degree. It's mind-
bogglingly complicated and has the
potential to turn upside down some of
the general rules about sex and pre-
vention. Particularly, testing condi-
tions for human papilloma virus and
herpes, two of the most prevalent sex-
ually transmitted infections on cam-
pus, have me pulling my locks out.
How bad is it?
Well, it's so bad that, in the instance
of some herpes blood tests, a positive
or negative test result can't neces-
sarily be taken at face value. Even
though men and women have equal
chances of getting genital warts - a
symptom of HPV - they don't have
equal access to testing or vaccina-
tions against it.
In order to further clarify this
precarious situation, I sat down with
Medical Director of UHS Dr. Robert
Ernst to get the skinny, one STI at a
time, on what a student can expect
when they walk into UHS with the
intentions of knowing their status.
I knewthat something was up when
I read the disclaimer from the Cen-
ters for Disease Control's most recent
herpes fact sheet. It stated that while
a positive blood test result most likely
indicated a genital herpes infection,
the results "were not always clear-
cut." And Ernst agreed. "Some of my
colleagues project that herpes blood
tests could have as low as a 50 percent

accuracy rate," he said. men were tested for HPV, partners -
And then there is a matter of the both male and female - who wanted
price tag: a whopping $200. Given assurance about their boyfriend's
the testing inefficiency, students who genital warts status could get it.
are curious must do so on their own Prevention options? Similar deal
dime. And there aren't any student with herpes: condoms reduce risk,
activities fees to cover this. bare crotch rubbing can lead to infec-
If students book an appointment tion. The upside for HPV is, according
to know their herpes infection sta- to Ernst, "all the chips go to vaccina-
tus, they are given a visual inspec- tion." But again, women can only get
tion - or in other words, a look-see. the vaccine, which can cost a total of
Culture tests, a process that involves $500 at UHS - also not covered by
taking a sample from a sore and test- student activities fees.
ing it in a laboratoiy, are done after a
student has an outbreak. In 2007, 25
percent of herpes "culture tests" at
UHS came back positive. While there Some STIsa ren't
is treatment that can manage the out-
breaks, there is no cure. as detectable as
In terms of prevention, condoms
help, but they won't protect you com- YOu might think
pletely because the disease can be t
transmitted when your pubic areas
touch. WebMd.com insists that there
is a vaccine in the works, but there's no So where does that leave us now?
definitive sign on the date of delivery. ' In the absence of comprehensive test-
HPV is a somewhat different story. ing options, the CDC endorses absti-
To complicate the whole gender, nence to ward off HPV and'abstinence
aspect, Dr. Ernst said the higher risk and long-term, mutual monogamy
of cervical cancer in women means to reduce the risk of getting herpes.
HPV tests are only done on women. This should be surprising, since the
According to the American Cancer CDC's mission statement, according
Society, 11,070 women were diag- to its website, is not to weigh in on
nosed with cervical cancer in 2008. the monogamy debate but to "create
The CDC's recent fact sheet states . the expertise, information, and tools
-that men can get penile and anal can- that people and communities need to
cers, but it's much less common. protect their health."
Here's the testing process: Univer- If the CDC is on the front lines
sity Health Service conducts HPV of advocating for . ground-breaking
follow-up tests when a woman gets research on the herpes vaccine or
an abnormal result from her Pap against one-sided HPV testing and
smear. Out of 4,500 pap tests con- vaccinations, its fact sheets should
ducted in 2008, less than 10 percent reflect that and not this monogamy-
had some degree of abnormality: promoting, abstinence-only non-
Ernst projected that 30 to 50 percent sense. In the end, STI prevention
of women acquire HPV at some point efforts should be aimed at creating
in college. a straightforward, comprehensive
Now the good news about HPV is testing process that enables anyone
that a majority of infections eventu- who is sexually active to truly know
ally clear up. While Pap smears can their status.
serve as a way to catch cervical can-
cer early, all bets are off with genital - Rose Afriyie is the Daily's sex
warts - something both men and and relationships columnist. She can
women can get. The bottom line is: If be reached at sariyie@umich.edu.


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