Letter: Inmates' actions applauded

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The "inmate rescue" of the three kayaking brothers from Salmon Creek is a great story, and I hope it shows wonderful progress for the Washington state prison system. (A Jan. 31 Columbian story reported "Inmates help rescue boys.")

In 1959, when my father retired from the federal prison service, he summed up his career by saying "the system doesn't work." He meant the full system: police, courts, counselors and prisons. He then told stories of seeing prisoners returning every few years for a new stretch, the result of committing a new crime. Maybe Larch Corrections Center has found a way to finally make the system work. Work them outside? Contact with real people? Whatever it takes, these people are worth saving. A little training as life guards and emergency rescue personnel could be explored.

So, cheers to the full group of inmates working at the Salmon Creek Regional Park last week, and also cheers to the employees of Larch Corrections Center. (And to Fire District 6 for their quick response.)

Ralph C. Edwards

Vancouver