Letters To The Editor - Inmates should not have access to uniforms

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Your Our Opinion editorial piece, "Continue to have inmates make prison officer uniforms" (Jan. 19), correctly recognizes the need to improve the poor quality of uniforms for officers at the Department of Corrections, but it misses the point in suggesting that inmate labor be the long-term solution to the problem.

Setting aside the fact that poorly manufactured, unprofessional uniforms of any kind undermine the authority, and thereby compromise the safety, of our state's correctional officers, and that private industry can provide higher-quality uniforms at a reduced cost to the state, inmates should not make nor have access to officers' uniforms, period.

Not only is it a blow to morale for officers to wear uniforms manufactured by the inmates they supervise, it is a public safety threat as well.

In 2009, two convicted murderers serving life sentences in Georgia walked out of prison wearing uniforms they had stolen from correctional industries. The danger their escape posed to the public at large provides perhaps the strongest argument against the current system.

Tracey A. Thompson,
secretary-treasurer
Teamsters Local 117
Tukwilla

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