Some prisoners deserve a second chance

Regarding your May 22 article, "In more states, parole is a thing of the past": If Gov. Gray Davis [of California] doesn't want to grant parole, then the courts should be careful when sentencing people to indeterminate sentences.

People make mistakes, and sometimes in the middle of it all, we forget that human beings are all capable of error. Granted there are some people who definitely should never be let out, but I am not referring to those people.

How about first-time offenders - should we keep them locked up forever? How about juveniles, or those who took plea bargains because their attorney advised that 15 to life meant about 15 or so years? This policy of Mr. Davis violates their rights.

The fact that Davis wants to keep so many people in prisons might have something to do with the fact that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association made considerable contributions to his campaign - and in return he gives them high pay with minimum qualifications (a GED or high school diploma), and also job security.

I think there's something definitely wrong with this "tough on crime" policy, and we need to take back our state and give to each person his or her "due process." It is not an option Gov. Davis, it is the law!

Christina Aguilar Stockton, Calif.

Airline merger lessens competition

Disappointingly, I found a lapse in the Monitor's usually impeccable journalistic neutrality in your May 25 article "One less airline may mean more competition."

As we have previously seen in the Reagan era, the deregulation of the airline industry and the merger of large airlines create more competitors, but less competition. Beneficiaries of mergers and deregulation point to the tripling of the number of airline carrier licenses post deregulation.

More sober and nonpartisan analysis argues that most of the relevant routes are dominated by a few giants, so the real choices available to consumers are, in fact, fewer.

P.J. Barry Somerville, Mass.

More reasons for home-run fever

Regarding your May 17 article "Are juiced balls the culprit in homer binge?": Although you make some good points, I don't buy the one that there are more homers because the batters are bigger and stronger.

Hitting a homer has never been a function purely of brute strength, which is why big, strong athletes have never (previously) been an automatic success in baseball. You hit for power with your wrists, not your body. And you need to have superb eye/hand motor coordination.

Also, thanks to league (over)expansion, the pitchers are being brought up faster, so they're less experienced and less talented. And many of the new parks have much shorter fences than the stadia they replace.

But I think the biggest factor is that they're hitting a superball, not a baseball. And today's fans love it because they simply have no idea what they are watching. And that's where you hit the story on the head. The fans don't know the difference.

Fred Iannotti Newtown, Conn.

Vivid writing appreciated

Regarding your May 24 article "At home where she's never been": I'd like to tell the author [Sue Wunder] how much I identified with the child and thoroughly enjoyed her writing style.It was vivid enough to take me right back to our neighbor's farm at the ripe age of 4, and to my first Drafty ride.

I didn't know words could describe the look in some children's faces when they're where they don't want to be, but she sure did.Thanks for starting my day off so well.

Carol Gay Newcastle, Maine

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