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Re: Your recent article on Ohio and D.C. (“Four Dead in Ohio,” 4/17).

By way of an introduction, I am a D.C. prisoner and have been incarcerated for 21 years. During my time behind bars, I have experienced many different places and systems of confinement. I was part of the first group of prisoners to be sent to Ohio, via Virginia Beach, Va., Thomson, Calif., and Marianna, Fla. In addition, I have been an active member of CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants), and I have worked closely with various legal groups that have sought reformation of this environment. In fact, after talking to Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of Prisoners Legal Services Project, Inc., I felt this letter needed writing.

Over the years many articles have been written by various newspapers and other periodicals. However, most of those articles have reflected a specific viewpoint, which did not always tell the truth—or only parts of the truth. Your article, while dealing

with some very sensitive issues, certainly was a well-thought-out and well-investigated piece. The thing

I most appreciated about your article was that it pointed fingers at all

parties, whether inmates or persons

of authority.

For the record, I believe that the most blame in this situation rests with the reactionary practices of quasi-professionals employed by the D.C. Department of Corrections, at least those in decision-making positions. You see, the men initially transferred in January 1997 were said to be problematic, posing a serious threat to the safety and security of the institutions in which they were housed. At best, only 25 percent of the men transferred fit that profile. The other men were moved because, for whatever reason, they were not in the good graces of persons charged with making transfer decisions.

Honestly, if you were to dig deep enough, you would discover serious law violations and conflicts of interest relative to the relationship between Corrections Corporation of America and D.C., current and former employees. I wrote the U.S. attorney general seeking to have the business practices between D.C. and CCA investigated. I received no response. What irritates me about receiving no response is the current expenditure of manpower by federal authorities to bust a guy on the corner selling illegal drugs, but they are not willing to delve into areas in which those of popular classes operate.

I could go on and on about the things I feel need to be improve but to do so would undermine the intent of this letter. Thank you for being real and honest. Too often people do not write or print the truth because that truth would be met by criticism. I am hopeful that you will continue to be as fair as you have been. It’s not every day that I read something regarding the situation I find myself in, and I am left with the need to say, “Job well done.”

Lorton, Va.