Letter: Education, not incarceration
Sheriff Vallario is right. The mentally ill do not belong in jail. I have another one for you, Lou. Repeat DUI offenders don’t belong there, either.
With three DUI’s under my belt, I have some insights in this area. If it weren’t for a very sharp attorney, I would have seen the inside of the Garfield County slam and it would’ve done me no good. What did me a great deal of good were the DUI education and therapy classes I was sentenced to and conducted by Alpine Springs Counseling.
The instructor, Wendy Caldwell, and the class confronted me. They said you are obese, diabetic, and alcoholic. That is a deadly combination. If you don’t do something about your drinking, you’re not going to live much longer. An atheist who doesn’t believe in an afterlife, I thought I should put off the end as far as possible. In July of last year, I went stone cold, I’ve had my last drink sober.
A repeat DUI offender is almost certainly an alcoholic. The last place an alcoholic needs to be is in jail. My overnight experience in jail was in the Lawrence County Jail in Bedford, Indiana, and I found it deeply depressing and alcohol and other drugs were readily available. Depression causes and sustains alcoholism. Others have told me the Garfield County Jail is the same way. Nationwide, our penal system is a mess. The emphasis is on punishment. Rehabilitation is a joke.
A better sentence would be one of the local rehabilitation centers like the Jaywalker Lodge in Carbondale. If the objective is to keep the offender from driving, the lodge will see to it. The drawback to Jaywalker is it’s very expensive and there are no accommodations for women. Work release is good because idle time, especially in my case, leads to relapse. Some of my Alcoholics Anonymous friends are there by court order.
Anything but jail. Never jail.
Fred Malo Jr.