National Catholic Reporter

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Insecure about maximum security prisons?

 |  NCR Today

Am I missing something? Did I miss the congressional hearings about how unsafe our maximum security prisons are? Did I miss the outraged neighborhood protests from those who live near these facilities?

To hear the Republicans yelp about bringing Guantanamo detainees to the mainland for trial, you would necessarily conclude that America's prisons are categorically unreliable. The Tanzanian brought to New York yesterday was not, after all, dropped off at a Starbucks in midtown. Do not our prisons hold countless inmates whose crimes, while not motivated by a perverse Islamic extremism, were nonetheless heinous and whose continued incarceration is an obvious obligation of government?

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President George W. Bush said that we would “bring the terrorists to justice or bring justice to the terrorists.” It would seem that this is precisely what is happening in New York today. The Republicans are ranting because they know the issue polls well but the next time you hear them worry about the security of the nation, you can question their judgment without fear of contradiction.

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