“By not incarcerating pretrial inmates, recidivism is lowered.”

That is an alarming statement by Elizabeth Simoni, executive director of Maine Pretrial Services, who argues to lower bail requirements. Simoni says that inmates who were detained more than 48 hours were four times more likely to commit another crime within two years than those who were free on bail.

One must then question the function of our prisons if they make one’s behavior worse after incarceration. Are prisons used only as punishment or are they also designed to rehabilitate?

When inmates re-enter society, we need them to be productive citizens, not more likely to re-offend and come out worse than when they entered prisons.

Perhaps the public needs to be more accommodating as well, by allowing better re-entry and employment opportunity. Surely there is always a risk, but people who are incarcerated should not be doomed to a lifestyle of repeated incarcerations.

Our current system needs serious evaluation, and one would hope that rehabilitation, not saving money, is the goal. We all need to care if society is to be improved.

Carol Rasmussen, Smithfield

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