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Letter: Reflections on crime and punishment

Justice, Blind, Scales of Justice, Legal System, Statue

Justice, Blind, Scales of Justice, Legal System, Statue Of Justice, themis, Women, Law, Finance, Weight Scale, Statue, Truth, Symbol, Balance, Bronze, Roman, Goddess, Sculpture, Low Key, Focus On Foreground, No People, Female, Mythology, Close-up, Horizontal, Traditional Culture, Shiny, Blindfold, Blue, Istock. Credit: iSTock

My heart goes out to the family of Lisa Solomon, who was killed by her husband, Matthew Solomon, in 1987 [“Transcript sheds light on infamous LI slaying,” News, July 9]. I understand their anger and frustration.

However, I must ask, are we a society whose justice system is decided on emotion and the quest for revenge? Based on its guidelines, the parole board decided to release Matthew Solomon in May after he spent 31 years in prison.

After all the evidence was presented and Solomon was convicted of murder, the judge in his case sentenced him to 18 years to life in prison. That meant Solomon could be released in 18 years unless he proved to be a continued threat to society. He was not sentenced to life without parole. He served more than a decade beyond his minimum sentence.

People do change, and we are a society that believes in second chances. We cannot afford the cost of keeping aging people incarcerated based on an act committed 30-plus years ago. It is fiscally and morally irresponsible.

Barbara Allan,


Editor’s note: The writer is founder of Prison Families Anonymous, which offers support to relatives of inmates.

The “Jobs after jail” Business story on July 7 described the challenges people have finding work after serving prison time.

Criminal justice reform advocates, lawyers, legislators and employers are trying to make it easier. The article described people who have paid their dues and want to rejoin society.

What is so difficult for me to understand is the contrast between society’s sympathy for reformed violent carjackers, murderers, addicts, robbers, etc., and the unforgiving, unrelenting vitriol hurled at targets of the #MeToo and similar movements.

For example, 81-year-old singer Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary was just disinvited by an upstate New York arts festival charge after social media commentators became outraged that 50 years ago, he had opened a hotel door naked to underaged girls. He served jail time for that offense, yet 50 years later, he is still made to pay. It is American hypocrisy.

Do not think I don’t hate any and all criminal acts, but I, too, believe in reform — but reform for all. I don’t believe media and social media commentators should be allowed to decide who gets their sympathy and who keeps paying.

Joanne Urban,


Why don’t many cyclists wear helmets?

Your July 9 news story “Peril drives more to cars” explained the concern about 15 bicyclist deaths so far this year in New York City. However, in the photos with the article, not one cyclist wore a helmet — nor do I see most cyclists locally wearing them. Shouldn’t bicyclists at least be somewhat responsible for their own safety?

Trude Hassberg,