Sunday, Apr 20, 2014

Letters to the editor, Nov. 23

Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:23 PM

Violating civil rights

The Arc of Florida was horrified to learn that the U.S. Department of Justice has accused the State of Florida of warehousing hundreds of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in nursing homes. Isolating children with I/DD in nursing homes violates their civil rights. The Supreme Court was clear about this in its 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. ruling.

The Arc of Florida believes the healthiest environment for an individual with I/DD to live in is their community. Keeping children with I/DD in nursing homes and institutions places them at an increased risk for physical and emotional health problems. Most perplexing is the well established fact that these services can be provided at a lower cost in a home and community based setting, versus nursing homes or institutions.

Today's situation did not develop overnight. While the current administration and legislature didn't cause these problems, they have an opportunity to correct them. As Florida's legislators begin discussing priorities for the upcoming legislative session, The Arc of Florida hopes they will take a closer look at this issue and work to ensure that Floridians with I/DD do not have their civil rights violated. Children with I/DD must be moved out of nursing homes and back into their communities where they belong.

Mark Barry,

Executive Director The Arc Nature Coast

No true penalty for murder

I am damn tired of our criminal prosecutors giving almost all of our killers charged with murder of innocent persons, the right to avoid the possibility of execution by accepting a guilty plea in order to end up with a life sentence.

If you watch the news you will read about brutal murderers taking a guilty plea, at least one per week, throughout the state.

We are living in a country where murder is acceptable because there is no serious penalty for murder with intent. Life in prison is more like living in a closed motel. The prison provides clean living quarters, it is air-conditioned, it provides three good meals every day, a gym for physical exercise, library, computer, classes, work programs and they do everything they can to keep the prisoners content, quiet and reasonably happy.

A term of life imprisonment could last anywhere from 30 to 45 years, all at the cost to the taxpayer. The cost to keep one prisoner for one year could vary from $30,000 to $40,000 per year. Multiply this by the thousands of prisoners we hold and you have a very large bill to the taxpayers.

The reason why our criminal prosecutors are so willing to accept a guilty plea for life imprisonment is that they won't have to work on a long trial, or they are not competent to handle a murder trial.

Our judges are also quite willing to accept a guilty plea because it will be putting a burden on the judge for a long trial and by avoid a long trial it will give him more free time and it will make him look like a nice guy.

The result of the above excuses is to help murderers avoid their deserved penalty for taking the life of a person. Our Attorney General must do something to correct this problem and require the local state criminal prosecutor to be more responsible.

The harshest crime, that of taking away the life of a person deserves the harshest penalty, that of death.

Normal Pallot

Weeki Wachee


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