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May 5, 2011: Private prison, Pakistan, pot

State Sen. Doug Thomas and Rep. Paul Davis are hoping to increase jobs in the Milo area in Piscataquis County. Having property in Milo and using the services and stores in center Milo, I have questions about any proposed privately run prison.

I worked at a private for-profit facility (RCA) for incarcerated youth, contracted by Rhode Island to save tax money. It was on a major highway in an urban area adjacent to the state prison complex, unlike Milo. As a social work staffer, I was expected to advocate for continued sentences at the children’s three month court reviews to keep the facility full. Some staff committed abusive acts against these young teens. I resigned.

The children’s lawyers sued RCA when one girl became pregnant from a staff member.  The kids won the case; the state lost money. Was a for-profit motive operating over a non-profit public service mandate?

Increasing the tax base and adding new jobs is good. Security risks, lawsuits and importing of inmates’ friends and family to Milo may not be. Beware!

Jane Fairchild

Orneville Township

• • •

Cut off Pakistan

It’s becoming obvious that Pakistan did nothing to assist and may have actively hindered U.S. efforts to find Osama bin Laden. By any yardstick you use, many millions of dollars are earmarked for aid to this country. It seems to be a great time to cut back or stop this aid, as a message to the world. We can easily find much better uses for these funds. A public outcry would go a long way in getting our politicians on board.

Gerald Doiron


• • •

Grace under fire

In regard to the Bangor fire, my mother-in-law, Anna (Spellman) Pratt, was employed by the telephone company before her marriage. During the fire she stayed at her switchboard until the building was engulfed in flames and firemen escorted her out.

She later received an award from the telephone company for her meritorious service.

Joan Pratt


• • •

Marijuana as money saver

I am in support of LD 1453 to regulate and tax cannabis sales in the state of Maine. To have an avenue for the state to bring in money on a crop that is worth millions of dollars is an amazing idea!

We all know the state is in a tight spot, as is almost every other state in the country. To bring cannabis regulation and taxation to fruition will no doubt really make some people upset, mainly the black market dealers who are currently enjoying tax-free incomes.

We’re all aware now of the medicinal value that cannabis has, and now it’s time for Maine to realize the monetary value it has, too. Not only could the state reap the rewards of taxation, but it will cut down on law enforcement time that’s dedicated to people who have a garden, it will save the state in prison money for people who would otherwise be put away for gardening, and by opening up the regular sale of the herb we could be putting people to work!

Chris Roberts

Stockton Springs

• • •

Pot not benign

I am astounded by the ignorance and self interest displayed in the letters I’m seeing calling for the legalization of marijuana.

Fact, there have been countless studies done showing that contrary to what some believe, marijuana does affect one’s ability to learn and inhibits memory. THC, the main  active ingredient in marijuana is a hallucinogenic. This may account for some believing that they are functioning on a higher level when using.

More kids are being treated for marijuana abuse than any other drug. Some may dispute the reasoning, but in most cases someone in their lives has identified the fact that these kids are not functioning well.

I understand and concur that marijuana does have some valid medicinal value. My concern is that there are many illnesses being treated with no medical evidence to prove any benefit. Many of those pushing for legalization are using these unfounded ideas as a basis for their argument, with their true intent being legalization for recreational use, using those suffering as no more than a tool for their own selfish agenda.

Some say, “It’s natural, it can’t be bad for you.” I would suggest that those people start smoking hemlock.

Gregory J. Bouchard


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