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Why perpetuate the criminal stigma?

Letter to the Editor

I have been disappointed and disheartened by the recent letters to the editor with the unkind and, in my opinion, unwarranted comments about NICI’s community service program. 

Once a month, Idaho County Recycling’s Grangeville collection site has been privileged to host a supervised work crew from NICI and, without exception, those fellows have been the best; eager, courteous, respectful, hardworking, uncomplaining. Over several years, ICR volunteers (and patrons), with a wide range of ages, personalities and physical levels, have labored side-by-side with over 90 different NICI residents without any hesitation or problems — and with full acceptance of the notion that to be successfully re-assimilated into society—via families, jobs, communities— they need positive interactions and tasks. NICI provides stability, education, discipline, counseling, new skills training and amazing service projects. The least we can do is provide encouragement and nonjudgmental support. 

What’s the point of perpetuating the “criminal” stigma when these men have paid for their poor choices and want to move forward with fresh pride and productivity?

Shelley Dumas



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