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Releasing prisoners

The excellent article ``One man's view: compassion, not toughness, controls crime'' (Jan. 25) puts toughness in opposition to compassion. The basic issue for society, however, is: What is effective in controlling crime? As one explores ways of answering the question of effectiveness, attention focuses as much on the community and what happens to the released prisoner on his return as it does on what transpires behind prison walls.

Since 1970 the Safer Foundation of Chicago has provided useful services to over 44,000 released offenders in Illinois. Of this number, more than 22,500 have been placed in jobs. Safer's work thus assists in the reduction of crime by helping the released prisoner secure work and become self-supporting. Those who have participated in Safer's program are much less likely to revert to crime than those left to their own devices. Robert R. Lucas The Safer Foundation Chicago

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Thank you for the Jan. 18 mention [News in Brief] of Raoul Wallenberg's 40 years as a Soviet prisoner. Whether he is alive, as we have every reason to believe, or has died in Soviet captivity, he deserves to be repatriated to Sweden. Therefore State Department talk about ``accounting'' or ``information'' is beside the point, especially as the Soviets have already provided three false and mutually contradictory ``accountings.'' Unfortunately, not only has the State Department done nothing to free Wallenberg, but it has tried to prevent two private efforts from succeeding.

First, the State Department has suppressed proposals for executive action to free Wallenberg, made by former Congressman Joshua Eilberg of the Wallenberg Committee. For over a year and a half it has suppressed a proposed presidential directive requiring prisoner exchange negotiation, despite efforts of federal legislators and others to bring this to President Reagan's attention.

Second, the State Department has declared it will interfere in the private lawsuit to free Wallenberg, to side with the Soviet Union against his family, as reported in the Oct. 1, 1984, Legal Times of Washington. John Fraser Wallenberg Committee of Greater Philadelphia Philadelphia

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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