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Report on crime, prisons raises awareness

The “Crime, Cost, and Consequences” report released last week by MassINC and Community Resources for Justice raises several points worthy of further discussion (“Crime down, prison costs up,” Page A1, March 25).

As the sheriff of the Commonwealth’s largest county, I agree, for instance, that there should be greater emphasis placed on programming for inmates. At the Middlesex House of Correction we take great pride in our substance-abuse programming as well as our vocational and educational programming such as our culinary arts and Xerox Corrections to Career initiatives. I believe strongly that if we can help address the problems that led to inmates’ incarceration, we can help reduce the chance that they will reoffend.

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I differ with the report where the authors discuss the length of stay and population. For example, at the Middlesex House of Correction we have seen the average length of stay fall from 304 days in 2000 to 234 in 2012.

I commend the providers of the report for their work, and hope it will serve as a working document that will lead to a comprehensive dialogue involving corrections in Massachusetts.

Peter J. Koutoujian

Middlesex sheriff

Medford

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