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Crime lab scandal underscores ills of injustice

A report commissioned by MassINC (“Crime down, prison costs up,” Page A1, March 25) argues that some Massachusetts inmates, particularly nonviolent drug offenders, should have received shorter sentences. Can we connect the dots with the long-running story about the state crime lab scandal?

We are spending a lot of money to retry drug offenders whose convictions were based on tainted evidence. More broadly, we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars correcting crime lab malfeasance so that we can spend more hundreds of millions continuing to incarcerate folks, some of whom should not be in jail at all.

Why not consider the confluence of events an opportunity rather than a problem — an opportunity to save instead of spend and to correct some of the sins of an overzealous prosecutorial system? I’ll bet that corrections officials, prosecutors, and police know who really should be kept in jail and who could be let go.


John H. Neely