click to enlarge A portrait of Buff Charmichael painted by Springfield artist Felicia Olin.
A portrait of Buff Charmichael painted by Springfield artist Felicia Olin.

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Thank you for the article about Buff Carmichael ("Igniting change," Sept. 24). I'd heard much about his past at one time or another. I know he's done a lot for the gay community in central Illinois, not just Springfield. Once at a writer's conference, a woman from New York told me she'd read my column in the Prairie Flame when she was in college at Illinois State University.

Funny how things come together. A man who cut his teeth on a movement in Dallas to abolish the death penalty (a pretty tall order), comes to Decatur and eventually Springfield, and uses his skills to better the lot of LGBTQ folks in the middle of Illinois.

I don't know what else to say. He's not Abe Lincoln. There won't be statues to honor his freeing of the slaves, although in a way, that's what he did. Martha Miller




I volunteer with the John Howard Association, one of the few independent prison watchdog groups in this country. More independent monitoring is needed, much more.  

I have been inside the maximum security prisons in Illinois and interviewed countless offenders. The concerns from the offenders are always the same: woefully inadequate health care.  The concerns, to nobody's surprise, come mainly from Black offenders. 

Behemoths like Wexford and Corizon have had countless lawsuits filed against them. Three years ago, Julie Jones, Director of Corrections for the state of Florida, finally threw her hands up and had had enough of Wexford's total lack of competency. She rightfully terminated the valuable state contract. 

She's not alone.  Several states have tried to reign in for-profit giants with varying results. These companies continue to fail the populations that need them the most.  

The words "for profit" and "health care" should never be in the same sentence as profits will always be prioritized over health care.

This needs to change. 

Jason Perry



As a former Sangamon County State's Attorney and retired circuit judge for the Seventh Judicial Court, I am pleased to support Dan Wright's candidacy for Sangamon County State's Attorney ("Challenger cites experience in prosecutor's race," Sept. 24). In my professional capacity, I have extensive direct experience with the work of the Sangamon County State's Attorney's Office and understand the traits of an effective state's attorney. During his tenure as state's attorney, Wright has excelled in his role as lead criminal prosecutor for the county. He has successfully taken on tough cases while being fair to all in the administration of justice. Consequently, Wright has earned the respect and support of the law enforcement community.

At the same time, Wright has reached out to broadly diverse constituencies within our county in an effort to instill confidence in the criminal justice system. This is particularly important in these tumultuous times, when cynicism in our system of justice is all too common.

We are fortunate to have a person of Dan Wright's character and caliber in the state's attorney's office. He has earned your vote.

Patrick W. Kelley

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