To the editors:

Thank you for your thought provoking and insightful article “A Capital Blunder” (July 28, 1989). As a psychiatrist with the Dwight Correctional Center, I unfortunately can vouch that the judicial system makes its share of blunders, where decisions are based on emotions and not on truth.

I have been working for the past several years with an innocent woman given a life-time sentence without parole, and watched as her dignity and life have slowly been eroded away under the false pretense of justice. When I attempted to point this situation out to the attorney general’s office, I was told they could not interfere in the judicial process.

I have become most embittered discovering that the judicial system that I was taught as a child is the backbone and pride of America, is often a fraud.

Unfortunately the public is uneducated about the realities of imprisonment, and is often uncaring, as long as criminals are off the streets. In reality “correctional centers” do little other than give people a place to do their time. Eventually, 98% of those incarcerated return to the community, usually untreated, unemployable, and angered.

It is my hope that the public realize that if dollars were spent now on intervention and treatment, especially substance abuse programs, that eventually the recidivism rate would drop, and a return would be realized both in actual dollars, and in safer communities.

Dorothea L. DeGutis, MD