The goal should be rehabilitation

Felon: A word used to describe someone who's been incarcerated.

When an inmate is released, society tends to tattoo "felon" to a criminal's forehead, ensuring them a lifetime of prejudice. This, in turn, guarantees us a dangerous community, ridden with re-offenders who lack incentive to change their behavior.

There are consequences to attaching that label and the subsequent denial of opportunities. According to California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the recidivism rate in California (65.1 percent) is among the nation's highest.

A recidivism cycle is created as inmates enter prison, serve time and are released into the same lifestyle -- causing the cycle to repeat. This cycle is expensive, as our government feeds money into the prison budget, draining money from education and other programs.

The only way to break this cycle is to change the prison model from incapacitation to rehabilitation programs, which are disintegrating from prisons. Rehabilitation is essential to inmates in order to benefit society.

Change isn't something that happens overnight; it takes time and money. But when the change is benefiting society, it's worth it.

Emily Swide

Benicia

Measure Q is worth the cost


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This is regarding Tom Barnidge's column, "Fallout could be severe if tax measure fails."

I, too, have come to the conclusion we would really have to be crazy to oppose a new parcel tax of a measly $75 a year, when our houses and, possibly, our lives are at stake.

Have we already forgotten the story of how a Tennessee family's home burned while firefighters stood by because the family had not paid an annual subscription fee?

Fire Chief Daryl Louder is not kidding, folks. We're all at risk. How can we object to an increase costing less than a cup of coffee a day when we risk watching our homes burn, not to mention watching helplessly as mom or dad have a heart attack and no one shows up to help?

Really, folks, another $75 a year is a small price to pay for the magnificent services they have always given us.

Please wake up, get over your preconceived ideas and do the right thing. Approve Measure Q, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District parcel tax.

Ron Glas

Concord

Prime target for soft political jobs

You do so much good being able to give us readers information on public employees salaries, retirements and benefits, it's amazing. I wish you could find out just how many are employed today and just what they are doing on California High-Speed Rail.

Something is going on there. Gov. Jerry Brown pulled all the strings to get this approved even when most of Californians were against it. Right now, with no tracks laid, this is a prime target for soft political jobs.

Eldon Anderson

Castro Valley

Raiders fans show lovely hospitality

I just returned from a trip to San Francisco where I was able to take in the Steelers-Raiders game Sept. 23.

We are from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and had heard terrible things about Raider fans. We were warned repeatedly not to wear our Steelers jerseys, and that was very disappointing as I have been a Steelers fan for many years and it was my first NFL game.

But upon seeing many people headed to the game wearing Pittsburgh colors, my daughter and I decided to chance it and purchased T-shirts for the game.

To our delight, the Raider fans were nothing like what had been described to us.

Yes, we were teased and poked fun at, but it was all in good nature. The two ladies seated beside us were season ticket holders and we had a wonderful afternoon of bantering and teasing.

Every Raider fan who took the time to interact with us was pleasant and fun.

I just wanted to thank the fans of Oakland for making my first NFL game a day to remember, even though my team lost.

Johanne Comtois

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

A great month to stop eating meat

This has not been a banner year for the meat industry.

Extreme drought has doubled the cost of animal feedstuffs. Undercover investigations documented male chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, their female counterparts crammed for life in tiny wire-mesh cages, pigs clobbered with metal pipes, and assorted farm animals skinned and dismembered at the slaughterhouse while still conscious.

A study of more than 120,000 people by the Harvard School of Public Health confirmed once again that meat consumption raises the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan warned that routine use of antibiotics to promote animal growth in factory farms is causing "the end of modern medicine."

No wonder U.S. per capita meat consumption has been dropping by nearly 4 percent annually.

October offers excellent opportunities for dropping animal products from our diet. The month kicked off with World Vegetarian Day and World Farm Animals Day.

It continues with World Food Day on Oct. 16, and Food Day on Oct. 24.

Entering "live vegan" in a search engine brings lots of useful transition tips.

Samuel Bentino

Oakland