ABOUT 50,000 men are incarcerated in Pennsylvania, some of whom are actually/factually innocent.

Many in society may say that the mantra for most incarcerated men is, "I'm innocent"; however, it is important for readers to note that more than 95 percent of men incarcerated took a plea bargain, meaning that they conceded guilt, while the remaining 5 percent maintained their innocence, went to trial and were subsequently found guilty. It is also very important to note: identification problems, perjured testimony by witnesses who are given prosecutorial misconduct, and, most importantly, ineffective assistance that inadequately represents indigent clients, flawed investigative work by those not adequately trained in the particular field of law their client is at odds with, and much more.

While our society is particularly hard on crime, we tend to forget that it is not only unjust to keep the innocent jailed, but it's also one of the primary reasons that the economy is in distress: It costs Pennsylvania's taxpayers $35,000 a year to house each inmate.

I think that readers should also know that Pennsylvania's current law, entitled No. 9545, forbids an innocent and/or factually innocent man/woman from bringing any evidence to a court's attention proving his/her innocence if he/she hasn't done so within a year after his/her conviction.

That is, for example, if you have been incarcerated for, let's say, five years, after all your appeals have been exhausted, and you find out that the key witness against you in your case was paid to testify against you - the current law cited above forbids you from presenting evidence of such an instance. This is called being "time-barred," meaning that you didn't get it to the court in time.

The above-stated draconian law is under review and scrutiny. If you believe this is unfair, while also wasting taxpayers' money, I would suggest that you support Sen. Stewart Greenleaf in repealing this unconstitutional and unfair law. See Greenleaf's proposed Senate Bill 1153, which is geared toward curing miscarriages of justice, attempting to free the "innocent" while also freeing the handcuffs that have been placed on Pennsylvania's economy by keeping the innocent in prison unjustly.

Abid S. Shabazz

Frackville (Pa.) State Prison

Pander bearers

While the Pavlovian audience at Republican presidential debates cheers at the notion of abolishing the Department of Education, the rest of the electorate should be appalled that such myopic minds are considered suitable as contenders.

With 75 percent of American students K-12 underperforming the average students in the best Asian school systems, how will our progeny avoid a societal devolution into Third World status?

Instead of pandering to a constituency susceptible to right-wing rhetoric, the Republicans should advance candidates who offer sensible solutions for our precarious nation.

Gerald Bundy


Chinese bring-in

The CIA destabilized Libya and Egypt. This operation culminated in the death of Moammar Gaddhafi and the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, and the current state of anarchy in Syria.

The situation there looks bad for the rebels, but what if it turns around and President Assad is on the verge of being ousted? Will Russia or China come to his rescue? Will some morning Americans wake up to hear that Russian or Chinese troops are occupying Damascus?

Stay tuned, this scenario is far from finished.

Ephraim Levin


One runs. The other ...?

Being on the same ticket, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie would strike a nice balance.

One is passive-aggressive; the other is massive-aggressive.

Jim Acton


Politics. As usual

The city doesn't know what the new real-estate millage tax rate will be until after they know the new actual values.

Mayor Nutter wants $90 million more for the schools and money to replace the temporary rate increases that he instituted in the last two years.

The only information that they keep telling us is that some real-estate taxes will be going up.

Ya think?

Mayer Krain