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Letter: Save Saturdays (Newsday)

To the Editor:

County Executive Thomas Suozzi’s plan to end Saturday visits at the Nassau County Jail would harm already vulnerable families (“Suozzi outlines cuts pending union move,” News, Feb. 4).

Many people struggle to visit the jail on weekdays. They have to request time off from work, which makes regular visits impossible. Saturday offers their only opportunity to spend an hour with their loved ones. Cutting Saturday visits would separate children from their parents and deny spouses a chance to discuss crucial family business in person. It would lower inmate morale, making the jail a more hostile place.

Many county jail inmates have not been convicted of a crime. Unable to afford bail, they wait behind bars as their cases move through the court system. Denying these folks a chance to see their families seems particularly callous.

County Executive Suozzi understands the need for Saturday visits – that’s why he created that option in 2002. Our elected officials doubtlessly face difficult choices as they cut the budget. They should focus their cuts on unnecessary expenditures and spare programs that benefit vulnerable families.

Tara Keenan-Thomson
Director, Nassau County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

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