Mainstream prisoners after their release

February 20, 2004

This is in response to a recent letter defending the practice of letting prisoners shop at Wal-Mart.

First, this "shopping privilege" should not even be an option. I, many other customers with whom I have spoken and the employees, all feel these prisoners should not be out shopping with the rest of the public. Whatever their crime, their punishment was to be sent to prison to complete their sentence. If they need to be mainstreamed back into society, make it a program for after they are released, and they can have someone with them one on one.

I do not feel comfortable knowing these prisoners are right there beside me. I do not know what crimes they have committed. Yes, I fear them.

If you have been in the stores when these prisoners are there, the supervision is not very good. The guards are not very close to the prisoners. If one decided to leave on his own, he could and it would not be noticed until hours later when it came time to take him back to Northpoint.


It is bad enough that our taxes pay for such a facility to house them and give them many things that most taxpayers can't afford: gym, weightlifting, education, cable TV, and who knows what else. Now, we allow them to come outside the prison into our stores with us, and we pay guards to watch them.

I do not care how good the prisoners have been inside and that they have become trusted inmates. The only people whom the inmates have convinced of their good are the prison officials, and a good "con" can play the system to make things go his way.

The letter writer said they have earned this outing. Not from me or any other taxpayer. The decision came from within the prison system, and I do not trust their judgment and neither does the rest of society, especially those people who have to work at Wal-Mart who have to deal with these prisoners.

I would be more comfortable with a former prisoner who is trying to make something of himself outside than a prisoner still in the prison trying to play the system to get out.

Everyone, you need to write/call your state officials and make your voice heard about this.

Michael Nowlin


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