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Awareness needed to end domestic violence

Several years ago, if someone was diagnosed with cancer, they seemed to be shunned. It took many years of keeping this in the forefront for us to finally talk openly and frankly about it. Breast cancer survivors are just that, “survivors,” and they wear their victory proudly, and rightly so.

Bringing the “bullying epidemic” to the forefront has also resulted in new laws. Laws don’t stop these acts, but educating people and appealing to their sense of right and wrong can certainly help.

Domestic violence seems to slip in and out of the forefront. There are laws, but it’s another issue that is embarrassing and often covered up. Domestic violence needs to be addressed as energetically as the war on cancer or bullying.

No human being deserves to be a victim of rape, abuse (mental or physical) or bullying. Please help keep this to the forefront in any way you can. The more an abuser (male or female) is confronted with examples or facts about domestic violence, the better the chance that they will seek help or try to change. Working together, we can help victims become survivors who can wear their victory proudly. It’s behavior that was learned; it can be unlearned, too.


Tea party absolutists are unwilling to govern

I remember when conservatives would quote Alexander Hamilton, James Madison or Thomas Jefferson to explain their guiding philosophy, not Ayn Rand. I remember when fiscal conservatism meant keeping fiscal stability and paying the bills on time, not disrupting the economy by arbitrarily shutting the government down or damaging the world’s faith that we will always honor our debts. I remember when conservatism meant consistently working toward a better system, not burning the whole system down in a fit of anarchist outrage and hoping the ideal will somehow rise phoenix-like from the ashes. I think it is time to reclaim what being a conservative means from the utopian dreamers and return the Republican party to those willing to govern.


Revise newly enacted law to lower recidivism rate

Indiana has been one of the worst places to commit a serious crime since the last revision of the criminal code in 1977. Indiana’s prison population has increased from about 6,000 in 1977 to nearly 30,000 in 2012, even though violent crime has decreased.

During the same period, Indiana has also been one of the worst places for a second chance; 39 percent of those released return within three years, and little is provided as treatment or re-entry services.

Numerous states have demonstrated that repeat offending can be lowered. Recent studies clearly indicate that housing low-level, nonviolent offenders with more serious offenders increases the recidivism of the low-level offenders. Nevertheless, HEA 1006 continues the mass incarceration and warehousing of offenders.

Eighty percent of offenders committed to the Indiana Department of Correction have a substance addiction, serious mental illness or both. Nothing in HEA 1006 increases treatment for them before, during or after prison.

If we want to lower recidivism and reduce crime, the legislature needs to act before HEA 1006 takes effect on July 1, 2014, by creating alternatives to prison for low-level nonviolent offenders, increasing evidence-based treatment programs for those with substance addictions and mental illness, and expanding re-entry services so they can become law-abiding, taxpaying members of our community.

It is time the General Assembly demonstrate that it knows how to be smart on crime as well as tough.