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June 2012
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RIDICULOUS Sweat lodge for death row inmates an absurd request

By The Bowling Green Daily News.

The Sun's editorial writer is out of the office this week. The following editorial is republished from the May 13 Bowling Green Daily News.

Victims of homicides were denied their rights of a peaceful, fulfilling life at the hands of their killers, so we really don't have much compassion for those who committed these crimes.

People have choices in life, and those who commit murder had a choice, but they took the wrong path and deserve the punishment they receive.

Those on death row have nothing to lose, but one thing they are good at is wasting taxpayers' money with their continued appeals, fighting to have their lives spared.

Regardless of one's opinion of the death penalty, this really isn't about whether you support it. It is more about the outrageous requests from three death row inmates at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville.

Six-time convicted killer Robert Foley, two-time convicted killer Roger Epperson and Vincent Stopher, condemned for killing a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy, are prime examples of people who milk the system, tie up our courts and continually demand more and more on the taxpayers' dime.

These inmates have Native American religious preferences, and because of that they believe the prison should erect a sweat lodge for them.

They also want traditional foods to conduct Native American religious ceremonies behind bars.

The request by these three convicted murderers is absolutely absurd. No other state in the country allows sweat lodges for death row inmates.

Why don't we just throw in a swimming pool and putting green as well?

The prison system has rightfully declined to fulfill their requests.

The case has now moved to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court is weighing whether to reinstate the lawsuit brought by these inmates and two others challenging restrictions on pastoral visits for condemned inmates and the sweat lodge.

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell ruled in 2013 that prison officials were justified in temporarily suspending pastoral visits for security reasons and to bring the prison in line with state prison regulations.

A request for a sweat lodge also was turned down by Russell.

Russell made the correct ruling.

Attorney Jacob Roth, representing the death row inmates, argued that the inmates proposed an indoor sweat lodge to alleviate security concerns by prison staff.

That is a nice proposal on their behalf.

At the end of the day, the issue with prisons is safety. Allowing a sweat lodge in a prison is simply ridiculous and more importantly could be a safety issue. Fire, heated stones and infrared machines could be hazards to others in the prison if a fire were to break out.

Additionally, there is no way to monitor the inmates once they are inside the lodge.

It has been argued before the court that sweat lodges have been deemed dangerous.

We agree, especially in a prison.

This is just one more ploy by several men who have nothing to do but waste taxpayers' money on unreasonable, selfish requests.

We hope the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sees through their facade and rules against them on these ridiculous requests.

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