I would like to commend the Lewiston Sun Journal for its recent outstanding series on “Packed Prisons.”

This multifaceted coverage will hopefully lead to some positive discussion and solutions to the serious problems of overcrowding and the widespread impact of mandatory sentencing laws, especially the well-intentioned, but excessively harsh, “Tina’s Law.”

Although Sen. Bill Diamond was quoted as referring to incarcerated motor vehicle offenders as “bad people who are put there for a reason,” I do not consider myself a bad person.

I can attest there are many reasons why a driver might have their license suspended that don’t reflect how safely or responsibly they operate a motor vehicle, but rather based purely upon financial causes like unpaid fines, overdue child support or insurance lapses. I personally made decisions and I accept that I deserved to be punished.

However, after accumulating three operating after suspension charges within 10 years, as a result of the enactment of Tina’s Law, I am sitting in an 8-by-10-foot cell at a taxpayer cost of $103 per day for about nine months, while individuals who are convicted of violent crimes routinely receive suspended sentences, probation or a few days in jail.

So much for making the punishment fit the crime.

Darryle Colson, Windham


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