Letter: Treatment, not prison


Posted: 1/9/2022 07:01:16 AM

Modified: 09/01/2022 07:00:28 AM

In the article on the front page, “Une second chance” (To watch, 1/5) Melanie McDonough became a criminal under circumstantial circumstances. She found it almost impossible to find a job. I believe that his story is at the genesis of his situation. As Melanie recounts, most of the incarcerated women, including Melanie, had been sexually, physically or emotionally abused as children. Prison is not a treatment plan for women who have been traumatized by men, only to be further abused by the justice system. A Superior Court judge sentenced her to 3 to 6 years despite her exemplary conduct during her incarceration.

Unrecognized and untreated trauma is the source of many costly challenges facing the country. It is imperative that society develops policies and laws to better protect children. The domino effect of trauma, juvenile residential facilities and imprisonment must end. The ACES scale helps identify trauma. Adverse childhood experiences count events of childhood abuse. I applaud the ACERTS programs present in some NH cities but they are not enough. I suggest all healthcare professionals, especially pediatricians, perform ACES on all children from the age of two. I believe this would identify the child sexual predators that harm the lives of preschoolers. In New Hampshire, only 3% of sexual predators are convicted. The justice system does not adequately protect women and children despite traumatized victims who repeatedly appear in court. Maybe there would be a lot less Mélanies in prison, if the company dealt with the trauma originally.

Paula Czech Lesmerises



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