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Letter: Use state-owned property to help low-level offenders

Use state-owned property to help low-level offenders

A recent News editorial, “In need of reform,” explained that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It criticized state parole boards and talked about the unfairness to low-level offenders and the high cost to taxpayers.

Let’s cut through the politics and do something positive to help society and give these young offenders a chance to improve their condition in life.

There is state-owned property on East and West Road in West Seneca (about 200 acres). There are buildings on the property to house people. There are workshops in place for woodworking, masonry, metal working, electrical, etc.

It is my vision to see these facilities used to teach young prisoners a trade. Teach them small engine repair and let them cut the lawn. Teach them woodworking and let them do the repairs required in the buildings. Teach computer skills and tech science and whatever will allow these people to come back and be a plus to society.

My idea has a judge in control who talks to offenders and describes the program and the rules. People sign up knowing that any violation of the rules sends them back to prison.

There is a church on the premises for those willing to change their path. There is an auditorium there for periodic entertainment to keep their spirits up.

This program would take some of the heat off (reform) of the parole board system. Politics do not work. I have talked for months with people in Sen. Patrick Gallivan’s office with no headway made. My next step was Assemblyman Michael Kearns. Talking since November 2014 resulted in nothing done. In the meantime, houses on East and West and Leydecker Roads are falling apart. Workers are cutting grass on holidays and blowing snow on unused sidewalks.

The politicians told me that it takes time to get things done, but they moved a group of sex offenders into a state-owned house on Leydecker Road overnight.

Daniel J. Ertl

Orchard Park