WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Inmate transfer treats low-level offenders like violent felons

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I’m writing this letter in curiosity. I’ve noticed that on the “Tell us what’s on your mind” section of the opinion page, it clearly says personal attacks and unverifiable factual claims will not be published. Then when I read the paper, I see personal attacks in the letters. These attacks are against our president, sheriff and public servants and they promote racism.

I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. I’m not a conservative or liberal. I am a veteran and a taxpayer, and I’m definitely not a negative or racist person. When I receive a newspaper, I expect to see and read positive and helpful information and reports. I’m a very fair and balanced person who seeks out facts, and I don’t believe the first thing I hear in the media. I like to do research from different angles.

Here is some factual information for you, and it’s mind-blowing. North Carolina’s misdemeanor confinement program is in violation of Amendment VIII of the U.S. Constitution. Here are the reasons:

1. Misdemeanor crimes are classified as low-level crimes.

2. Misdemeanor convictions are classified for custody as minimum custody.

3. Confinement in the county jail is close custody/controlled movement/lockdown — that’s considered maximum or medium-custody

4. County jails only let inmates go out for one hour a day for only three days a week. Convicted felons can go outside all day long in minimum/medium-custody prisons. They have access to radios, TVs and newspapers all day and all week. They have access to vocational schools, Narcotics Anonymous/Alcoholics Anonymous, work release for jobs and better medical treatment.

I’m sitting in the Wilson County Jail for a DWI/traffic offense for one year. I have no access to AA/NA treatment, no vocational schools, no information on post-release programs or educational programs. I have no TV, no radio and I have to pay for a newspaper. I only go out for two or three hours a week and I’m in lockdown in my cell.

It’s sad to know that I can go commit a felony and have more freedom than I can on a misdemeanor. So now I’m sitting on maximum security for a DWI/traffic offense. To me and anybody with common sense, that’s cruel and unusual punishment. Something has to change.

Matthew McCrary

Elm City

Editor’s Note: The writer was incarcerated after violating his probation on a felony count of obtaining property by false pretense and misdemeanor count of DWI Level 1, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety records. The Statewide Misdemeanant Confinement Program allows the state to reimburse participating counties for housing inmates with sentences greater than 90 days in county jails. The Times’ ban on personal attacks in letters to the editor does not prohibit criticism of elected officials and candidates for their job performance, qualifications or political positions.

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