The Champion

April 2006 , Page 4 

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From The President

By Barbara Bergman

Read more President's Column columns.

There is much that I can write about — topics on which I suspect virtually all NACDL members can agree. The fact that our criminal justice system is short-sighted and far too harsh and incarcerates the disproportionate numbers of poor people of color for longer periods of time than virtually any other country. The fact that our prisons and jails have turned into our mental asylums because we, as a country, are not willing to provide the community mental health services that so many of these people need. The fact that in far too many states criminal defense attorneys are not paid fees sufficient to provide effective representation. But those are not what I have decided to write about in this column — perhaps next month.

The tragedy of 9/11, and what has happened since then, has affected so many aspects of our lives and practices. We live in fear, and our government relies upon that fear to justify outrageous violations of human rights. I cannot watch a news program about the behavior of

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