Making Bad Choices
To the Editor:
During the Second World War, the State Mental Health Institute of Independence had a fine herd of Holstein dairy cows. As a Dairy Herd Improvement Supervisor, I was hired to weigh milk, test milk for butterfat, weigh feed per cow and calculate how much money each cow was making. At that time, convicts from the State Penitentiary of Anamosa were employed to milk the cows, by hand, feed and otherwise care for the cows.
These were non-violent young men who had been on good behavior. I bunked with these convicts when I was working at the Institute, and got well acquainted with many of them. I was surprised to find out that they were a good deal like other young men I knew.?I listened to many tales of woe and came to the conclusion that the difference between those in prison and those outside was that those inside had made bad choices with things that were illegal and those outside had made their bad choices with things legal.
I was quite sympathetic until I found out most were in prison for a second offense. They had learned nothing from the suspended sentence they received for the first. Then I did some soul searching and remembering that most of us have made and are making bad choices in areas that are not in conflict with the law. We make bad choices and we repeat them. We are also paying the pentalty but not as obviously as the man in prison. Will we ever learn?