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May 23, 1980 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-23

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Page 6-Friday, May 23, 1980-The Michigan Daily
ALLEGEDLY OFFERED BRIBE TO ILLINOIS LAWMAKER
Woman identified in ERA seam

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -A
Chicago woman representing the
National Organization for Women was
identified by an Illinois lawmaker as of-
fering him $1,000 to vote yes on the
Equal Rights Amendment, well-
informed sources told the Associated
Press yesterday.
Two independent sources confirmed
that Wanda Brandstetter was named in
the results of an investigation turned
over Wednesday by state law enfor-

cement officials to the Sangamon Coun-
ty state's attorney. The sources refused
to be identified by name.
REPEATED EFFORTS yesterday to
reach Brandstetter for comment were
unsuccessful.
State's Attorney William Roberts
said yesterday he will present the in-
formation June 5 to a county grand jury
for possible prosecution. Roberts
refused to confirm or deny whether
Brandstetter was the woman who
allegedly offered freshman Rep. Nord
Swanstrom (R-Pecatonica) $1,000 for a
yes vote on the ERA.
"I'm not commenting on it," said
Roberts.
Swanstrom also refused to disclose
who he identified to investigators as
making the offer, saying: "If it's going
to go to the grand jury, I didn't think I
should comment."
BUT THE HIGHLY placed sources,
who are close to the investigation, con-
firmed that Brandstetter was named by
Swanstrom as the person who last week
gave him a printed card with her name
on it and a handwritten message of-
fering him $1,000 to vote for the ERA.
The sources said Branstetter was
representing NOW.
Sources within NOW said Brandstet-
ter was an active volunteer with the
organization, but was not a staff mem-
ber.
Despite repeated attempts, neither
Eleanor Smeal, NOW national
president, nor state NOW officials could
be reached for comment.
Smeal on Wednesday denied any such
offer had been made, saying: "This
most recent charge is not only
outragious, but... it was never done."
THE INCIDENT allegedly occurred

last week as ERA supporters lobbied
feverishly for support in preparation
for a planned vote on ERA in the House.
The vote was called off when they fell
two votes shy of the 107 needed for
passage.
Swanstrom, an ERA opponent, has
. declined to confirm specifics of the
alleged offer. But he has said a NOW
representative made an improper and
possibly illegal offer to gain his vote.
The proposed ERA, which would
outlaw discrimination based on sex, has
been approved by 35 of the 38 states

needed to becopne part of the U.S. Con-
stitution. Five have since rescinded
their approval, but validity of that ac-
tion is in doubt.
Illinois is the only major Northern in-
dustrial state not to ratify and has been
targeted by NOW for a major
ratification effort this year.
State law enforcement and FBI agen-
ts have been looking .into other ERA
vote-buying allegations, the most
dramatic. of which were made by Rep.
Thomas Hanahan, a Democrat from
McHenry, who is an ardent ERA foe.

Crime rate down
but prisons filling up,
prison reformer says

Swanstrom
... said he was offered $1,000

BY DOUG FELTNER
The nation's prisons are filling up at a
rate unsurpassed in U.S. history, but
the increase is not due to an increase in
the crime rate, according to the chair-
person of the Michigan Coalition for
Prison Alternatives.
"The number of prisoners in our
prison system has almost doubled since
1904," Marc Mauer told a small group
at the Ann Arbor Public Library last
night. "The number of prisoners in
state prisons has risen from about 8,000
to 15,000, and the number of prisoners
nationwide has risen from about 300,000
to about 550,000."

BUT MAUER explained that the in-
crease in the incarceration rate was not
due to an increase in crime, citing a
Department of Justice survey that
showed the overall crime rate has
remained relatively stable - with a few
brief fluctuations - over the past
decade.
"Enlightened prison officials will tell
you that prisons don't rehabilitate
people," Mauer said. "One thing they
do do is punish people.
"Still," he continued, "there are
people who do change, but they will tell
you that they change in spite of the con-
ditions, rather than because of them."
MAUER SUGGESTED many alter-
natives to incarceration, including
retribution in the form of community
service, fines, and restitution to the vic-
tim. He also suggested a greater use of
probation and residential programs.
Mauer talked at length about the
creation of "Citizen Dispute Centers"
manned by skilled arbitrators to
resolve tensions between opposing par-
ties without formal prosecution. He
warned, however, against "miracle
solutions."
Mauer also spoke briefly on the racial
composition. of the inmates, and cited
figures that indicated that blacks are
ten times more likely to go to prison
than whites. He urged all people to
make their congressmen aware that
they support alternatives to incar-
ceration.
MAUER ALSO mentioned the Com-
munity Corrections Act of Minnesota.
The act provides for financial reimbur-
sement for communities that reduce
the number of prisoners they put into
the system. The money can be used-by
the community to create probation
programs and to set up halfway houses.
Jackie Wilson, a former teacher at
Jackson Prison who is currently a
graduate student in anthropology at the
University and who also spoke at the
meeting, agreed -with much of what
Mauer had said, but sharply criticized
his "write to Lansing" approach,
claiming that that would offer little
relief for black inmates.
"You're really talking about making
white jobs," Wilson asserted. "Every
3 / of us blacks (in the prison system)
,s worth one job toa white."

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*a bunch of fruits, nuts and flakes.
SAMUEL Z. ARKOFFetsA JEFFREY KONVITZ PRODUCTION
'GORP" MICHAEL LEMBECK - DENNIS QUAID - PHILIP CASNOFF
FRAN DRESCHER - DAVID HUDDLESTON
So JEFFREY KONVITZ w MARTIN ZWEIBACK screenplay ayJEFFREY KONVITZ

(upper RONEE BLAKLEYand
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AVCO EMBASSY PCTURES Release

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