Convict made mockery of probation systemAn article by...

LETTERS

July 28, 1996

Convict made mockery of probation system

An article by Dennis O'Brien on July 12 informed us that Theodore Reshetiloff, "a Baltimore man convicted in the 1992 death of a homeless alcoholic," was given an 18-month jail sentence for violating the terms of his probation.

Should the community feel safer? Yes, but more than that, the community should feel lucky.

Mr. Reshetiloff's sentence was five years of supervised probation, the first 2 1/2 years under house arrest. He failed to respond to calls placed by a monitoring service computer 36 times between November 1995 and July 1996.

Is this how the justice system assures the community that there is a concern for public safety?

Is this how the justice system assures criminals that their sentence is no joke?

Is this how the justice system validates the life-threatening work done by police officers?

Where is the credibility here?

Thank you, Judge Robert H. Heller Jr., for sentencing this man to an 18-month jail sentence for violating his probation, but I think it was 35 phone calls and eight months too late. We were lucky during that eight months, not necessarily safe.

Beth Chambers

Glen Burnie

Without jobs, welfare reform is hollow

Despite his zeal to "end welfare as we know it," President Bill Clinton is re-evaluating his unqualified support of Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson's welfare plan.

It turns out that welfare recipients are not allowed a fair hearing when appealing a change in their status. Further, although people are required to work after being dropped from public assistance, no jobs are provided under Mr. Thompson's plan; this in an economy where there is a built-in factor of unemployment. In addition, a sizable portion of the jobs that are available don't provide a wage that will pay the rent or feed a family.

The Republican guest on a recent Marc Steiner Show (WJHU Radio) stated that government "make work" programs are less desirable than jobs created by local business. This might be an arguable point, except for the fact that there are simply not enough jobs to go around.

The conventional wisdom is that the typical welfare recipient is a vodka-guzzling unwed teen-age mother of six.

More likely, the victims of this system are children, battered women, adults who through no fault of their own are unemployed, or those who are working at jobs with wages that are insufficient to provide anything beyond the basic necessities of subsistence living.

In what can only be characterized as outrageous hypocrisy, politicians call for balancing the budget by cutting social programs to the bone, while the Pentagon receives billions more than it requested and huge tax breaks are proposed for corporations. The problem is not welfare, but poverty, job loss and misplaced priorities.

While there is no quick fix given the global economy, Jeremy Rifkin and others have proposed solutions which at the least deserve more consideration than politicians have given them, e.g., shortening the work week to spread jobs among employable citizens, and implementing international standards for wages, workplace safety, etc.

It is only fair and just that in a country where corporate CEOs pay themselves millions in salaries and bonuses, government and the non-profit sector provide living-wage jobs -- to rebuild our decaying cities, and repair and preserve the environment -- to those "downsized" by the private sector.

. E. Lee Lears

Annapolis

Trusting doctors with life -- and death

Recently, my wife Eleanor and I attended a lecture at North Arundel Hospital on advance directives, primarily on a living will declaration and an appointment of a health care agent. It was very informative and I would highly recommended all to attend such a session in the future.

My only question, left slightly unanswered, was: If I trust a doctor or other health care providers with my life, why can't I designate them to act as my agent toward termination? Can the medical community respond to this?

John Baglama

Glen Burnie

Pub Date: 7/28/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.