Alabama editorial roundup: Oct. 18, 2018 edition

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Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

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Oct. 16

Dothan Eagle on Alabama’s criminal justice system:

How is Alabama’s criminal justice system like health care costs or airline ticketing?

With all three, nothing is what it seems. Because of the complexities of insurance reimbursements, a medical procedure may be charged at $20,000, but a hospital may wind up discounting the procedure steeply, and wind up with a fraction of the original amount. There may be hundreds of dollars’ difference in an airline ticket from Point A to Point B from one day to the next, or even one hour to the next.

There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the chronic overcrowding in Alabama prisons. This week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey took a different approach to truth in sentencing, putting a 75-day moratorium on early paroles and replacing the chairman of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.

That’s welcome news for the public, particularly the victims of crime who are left wringing their hands in frustration when their offender is put back on the street after serving a mere fraction of a sentence. The public deserves to feel secure that the state will uphold the complete term of sentencing for those convicted of violating the laws of our society.

However, the move will likely exacerbate prison overcrowding and the state’s ongoing challenge to maintain adequate staffing and mental health services for inmates.

A more restrictive parole system is beneficial, but Alabama needs prison reform as well as sentencing reform. Until we reassess what sort of offender goes into the prison system and for how long, our corrections system will surpass its already critical state.

Online: https://www.dothaneagle.com/

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Oct. 11

Opelika-Auburn News on the impact of a good or bad education system:

Two reports in recent days regarding the U.S. Air Force’s presence in Alabama served up poignant reminders that a good or bad education system’s influence extends far beyond classroom walls.

Still, one of the factors weighed in determining what company would get the contract, and where, no doubt focused on the available workforce, and thus the skill level and education of that workforce.

More than 750 direct jobs and countless other support jobs were tied to the project. Plans were in the works to provide mobile classrooms and other necessary arrangements for, pardon the bad pun, crash-course training and education.

Was Alabama ready to provide such, in adequate fashion? Were enough educated job seekers in the local market to fill the needs? We’d like to think yes. But again, education is an important influencer.

Boeing won the contract.

Then came the report out of Montgomery concerning the disenchantment Air Force officials have with that city’s school system and the impact it has on luring families to Alabama with incoming personnel stationed or studying at Maxwell Air Force Base.

Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of Air University and Staff College at Maxwell, told the Montgomery Advertiser that the state of schools in Montgomery is putting a strain on his job, with airmen arriving on base alone, without their families, and with faculty members reluctant to accept positions at the base.

More than half of the airmen in last year’s Air War College came to Montgomery without families, and the poor state of the city’s school system was the biggest reason why.

While the education system in the state’s capital city apparently is in shambles, others around the state are having better success.

The state as a whole, however, is what normally carries as a reputation nationwide, and when it comes to recruiting new industry and government jobs to fuel Alabama’s economy, education matters in a big way.

Montgomery’s problem isn’t just Montgomery’s problem.

Alabama as a state must do better, and must do so statewide so that any region of the state can show progress and willingness to make education a priority.

Until lawmakers, education officials and supporters up the ante on requiring fixes for problem education systems such as Montgomery’s, look for high-profile job providers such as the United States Air Force turning their attention somewhere else.

We cannot afford that.

Go to school. Fix the school. Promote the school.

Online: http://www.oanow.com/

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Oct. 12

Fort Payne Times Journal on mammograms:

Ladies, and gentlemen, we have to be proactive when it comes to our health.

Starting at age 45, women should get mammograms every year until they reach age 55.

After age 55, women should get tested every two years unless instructed differently by a physician.

A mammogram is the most common test for breast cancer.

The procedure can detect cysts, breast cancer, lumps and benign tumors before they are even detected by touch.

The examination can take between 20 and 30 minutes.

A medical gown is worn from the waist up during the procedure.

The X-ray technician will place the patient’s breast on top of the X-ray plate while another is placed on top.

Compression is needed to get a good visualization of the breast.

The procedure is usually pain free with minor discomfort during the compression.

A recent study published on breastcancer.org proves that, in 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

Don’t wait. Be productive when it comes to your health. Talk to your physician and learn what you can do to make sure you are prepared for any risk you may face in the future.

Online: http://times-journal.com/

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

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