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Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 03:27 pm

Letters to the Editor 8/8/13

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Last week’s cover story on Sangamon County’s drug court detailed the program’s successes and funding challenges as it provides alternatives to incarceration.

SAVE MONEY AND LIVES

A more graphic, realistic and comprehensive portrayal of an Illinois drug court than your recent feature story (“Get out of jail clean,” Bruce Rushton, Aug. 1) is impossible.

The benefits of a drug court – reduced recidivism, increased public safety and reduced costs to taxpayers – can be seen not only in Sangamon County, but also across Illinois. While, as the story states, the most expensive part of drug court is the cost of treatment, the costs of incarceration in the Illinois Department of Corrections is approximately five times more expensive.

The average cost of substance abuse treatment is $5,000 per person, versus the average annual expense of $25,000 to incarcerate someone in state prison, yielding the savings to taxpayers. Measured by fewer crimes committed and less financial burden to taxpayers, drug courts provide a solid return on the investment.

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO
Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association



BEST DEAL IN TOWN

Last issue was particularly interesting. (“Get out of jail clean,” Aug. 1). Love your paper. Springfield is very lucky to have a newspaper where state and local government affairs are so well reported and discussed and our local doings covered. And to top it off, you have three great cartoonists. And all free – best deal in town!

Marcia Thomas
Springfield



POLITICAL EXPERIENCE

I don’t have anywhere near enough information to yet decide if I will vote or not vote for Bruce Rauner for governor. But I do have a couple of thoughts on Phil Bradley’s guest opinion telling us why he will not vote for Rauner (“Why Rauner won’t get my vote,” GUESTWORK, Aug. 1).

First, Bradley assures us that the reason he will not vote for Rauner is not because he is extremely wealthy in a “Mitt Romney way,” nor because he sends his daughter to an exclusive public school. Nor is it because he owns homes in both the Chicago North Shore and Chicago’s Gold Coast. I’m glad that Mr. Bradley does not disqualify Rauner for his financial success because it sometimes seems the old adage that “in America anyone can grow up to become president” now includes a caveat “unless you have been very successful and have made an extreme amount of money.”

Mr. Bradley’s bigger point, that he can’t vote for someone who hasn’t worked his way up through political and/or governmental trenches, is valid. There is certainly knowledge about government and politics that can only be gained by spending time shaking hands and asking people for their vote. However, considering that, including our current governor, the last three governors of our state each have paid their dues and worked their way up through the trenches, as have our legislative leaders, it may be reasonable to consider a different model. In fact, with Illinois beyond broke and a dysfunctional government not able to agree on how to improve anything, and with our two most recent former governors both being convicted and jailed for felonies, it may be possible to argue that someone from outside the current system can’t do any worse.

Barry Seidman
Springfield

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