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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about prisoner rehabilitation, converting the US Embassy in Iraq into a university, and tying corporate compensation to a company's success.

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In regard to the Nov. 10 Opinion piece, "My Shawshank Redemption": Thank you so much for printing this piece from a California inmate regarding the honors program there.

As a representative of a chaplain-support group in northern California, I welcome any insights offered to leavening the human condition in the prisons in our world. Their worth is certainly attested to by this writer.

I found this piece to be very inspiring. The author's "desire to build on the better part" of himself was, undoubtedly, the key to his improved situation. We all could learn from that motive!

Let's hope that corrections officials at all levels recognize the value of self-help opportunities, and the untapped intelligence and talents of inmates.

The California penal system's honors program, so glowingly described by this author, needs to be evaluated by more clear-eyed people in the corrections system, and certainly not by one inmate.

My experience as a teacher in a prison system tells me that the author is right in that many inmates would be good if they knew how. But my experience also tells me that the prison culture is often driven by the brutes among the inmates.

Trust is hard in such situations.

US embassy should become university

In regard to the Nov. 4 Opinion piece, "A bold step for US goodwill in Iraq": I was intrigued by author Adil E. Shamoo's suggestion that the huge new US embassy there be converted to a university. This seems to be a good way of enhancing the US image in Iraq and around the world.

Of course, the Iraqi government would have to approve, and a suitable alternative embassy located. The latter step might be difficult, but in light of the billions of US dollars being spent in Iraq, it should not be impossible.


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