Letters from the week of June 17, 2004

 Dora! Dora! Dora!
Think piece: Okay, which is it? Dora Schriro is bad because she coddles prisoners, or she's good because she's come into right-wing-nutville Arizona with a liberal attitude toward corrections ("Dora's Darlings," Bruce Rushton, June 3)? It seems that your writer wanted to have it both ways, and after reading your story, I fucking don't know what to think!

Please, New Times, tell me what to think! You've been doing that for 30-plus years, so why stop now?

The thing is, what you could have nailed Schriro on, and Governor Janet Reno -- uh, I mean Napolitano -- was the hostage crisis. You sort of mention that, but you never really get into how that was so poorly handled. Maybe that was a time when Schriro's incompetence shone through, though I have a feeling that the guv was more at fault here. I mean, keeping the press out of the picture seems more like something that a conservative wolf in liberal lamb's clothing, like Janet Jr., would do.

I'm not so sure that having a liberal at the helm of our prisons is in any way bad. But how is Schriro going to get along with the governor, who, true to her butch bearing, is calling for a get-tough policy of building even more prisons? Do something about the sentencing mandates, Governor, don't play into the hands of the Jake Flakes of the world and build more prisons.

The prison situation is, as one of your writers pointed out last year, in shambles, what with all the private prisons getting used ("Big House Inc.," Robert Nelson, April 3, 2003). Those places make the old-timey Alcatraz look like a progressive institution.

Anyway, so Dora married an old man who died, and she changed her hairdos. And I really hate it when hot women walk through the cell block (read: the office where I work) in short skirts. Now there's a reason to hate her!

Don't get me wrong, I don't think kissing inmates' asses is good. Prison should be a rotten place, an Oz without all the drugs and gay sex. But we put too many people in jail in Arizona, and it must be a tough road for a liberal prison director. But, you know what, I don't know from your story, because you didn't even quote the governor or get at that point. Can Schriro be effective in this state when her boss can't possibly back her and get reelected?
Steve Rosen, Phoenix

Part of the correctional problem: I am surprised at your newspaper for the article on Dora Schriro. Former Department of Corrections director Terry Stewart and his ilk are a large part of the problems of our correctional system here in this state.

In fact, Stewart had a corrupt, good-old-boy system, and later padded his way into a private prison presidency. Schriro has proved her worth. There are larger issues than whether someone should have ice cream. Let all detractors of any correctional system spend some time behind bars, and then perhaps they can criticize from a knowledgeable standpoint.
Arlene Golden, Phoenix

Don't cater to the prisoners: It's so typical of the liberal governor of Arizona to bring in some do-gooder prison director from Yankee-land. As Sheriff Joe Arpaio has always said, what we really need are tougher jails, not play pens for psychopaths.

Let's just hope the governor doesn't cater to the ACLU types and let poor Dora Schriro love our prisoners so much that they want to stay incarcerated, and not work for a living for the rest of their lives at taxpayers' expense.

Look at all the stuff Dora sent in to those damn inmates who held the guards hostage. I'm sure they were having the time of their lives, with a woman to screw and all the cigarettes and food goodies they wanted. Maybe if she'd let the press in, that woman wouldn't have been raped for as long a time as she was! The inmates would've been trying to look good for TV and sound good in the paper.

Schriro looks like just another limp-wristed idiot. Both she and the governor aren't married. Maybe they can have prison sex.
Andy Randolph, Prescott

A woman's woman: I loved your profile of Dora Schriro. She seems like a woman empowered. She has followed the beat of her own drummer and hasn't been beaten down by all the men who run her world -- men who have proven that the only system they can create to incarcerate lawbreakers is monstrous.

She may seem weak to some, but she's injecting some humanity into an inhumane world. Why should we give up on criminals, when they possibly can be saved?
Anne Burton, via the Internet

Security breach: Good for you! I have a few things about your article on Dora Schriro to comment on. First, I concur that there was information provided not only at Lewis Prison but statewide that there is a serious lack of concern for security. As an insider, I know this for a fact. Director Schriro was made aware of this and treated it with an out-of-sight/out-of-mind attitude.

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