By Editorial Staff
Published October 1, 1988
The Willie Horton case
In Massachusetts, first-degree murderers used to get out of prison for the weekend …
Governor Michael Dukakis believed that it was “rehabilitative” for prisoners to be allowed to roam the streets unsupervised in what was known as the Prison Furlough Program.
That practice was finally outlawed by state legislators on April 28, 1988, after an enormous grassroots petition drive brought the issue before the people.
Here are the cold hard facts about Governor Dukakis’ “experiment in justice,” which has received little coverage on campaign news broadcasts:
- On June 6, 1986, convicted murderer Willie Horton was released from the Northeastern Correctional Center in Concord. Under state law, he had become eligible for an unguarded, 48-hour furlough. He never came back.
- Horton showed up in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on April 3, 1987. Clifford Barnes, 28, heard footsteps in his house and thought his fiancée had returned early from a wedding party. Suddenly Willie Horton stepped out of the shadows with a gun. For the next seven hours, Horton punched, pistol-whipped, and kicked Barnes – and also cut him 22 times across his midsection.
- When Barnes’ fiancée Angela returned that evening, Horton gagged her and savagely raped her twice. Horton then stole Barnes’ car, and was later chased by police until captured.
- On October 20, 1987, Horton was sentenced in Maryland to two consecutive life terms plus 85 years. The sentencing judge refused to return Horton to Massachusetts, saying, “I’m not prepared to take the chance that Mr. Horton might again be furloughed or otherwise released. This man should never draw a breath of free air again.”
- Variations of this story were repeated on several occasions in Massachusetts. Confessed rapist John Zukoski, who had brutally beaten and murdered a 44 year-old woman in 1970, became eligible for furloughs and was eventually paroled in 1986. A few months later he was arrested and indicted yet again for beating and raping a woman.
- The Massachusetts inmate furlough program actually began under Governor Francis Sargent in 1972. But in 1976 Governor Dukakis vetoed a bill to ban furloughs for first-degree murderers. It would, he said, “Cut the heart out of inmate rehabilitation.”
- The program, in essence, released killers on an “honor system” to see if they would stay out of trouble. On the average, convicts who had been sentenced to “life without parole” spent fewer than 19 years in prison. By March 1987, Dukakis had commuted the sentences of 28 first-degree murderers.
- Of over 80 Massachusetts convicts listed as escaped and still at large, only four had actually “escaped.” The rest simply walked away from furloughs, prerelease centers and other minimum-security programs. These convicts included murderers, rapists, armed robbers and drug dealers.
- First-degree murderer Armand Therrien was transferred from a medium security prison to a minimum-security one, which made him eligible for a work-release program. He walked off and vanished in December 1987.
- When citizens began to protest, Dukakis and his aides defended the program relentlessly. One commissioner stated that furloughs were a “management tool” to help the prisons. Unless a convict had hope of parole, he argued, “we would have a very dangerous population in an already dangerous system.” But, critics wondered, if armed guards can’t control dangerous killers inside locked cells, how are unarmed citizens supposed to deal with them?
- It was through the efforts of a grassroots organization, Citizens Against Unsafe Society, that the issue was finally brought before the people. With mounting pressure from his own aides to sign a bill ending the program – for fear that it would hurt his presidential campaign – Dukakis signed the legislation in April of this year.
America … do we want a president in office who would try the same “experiment in justice” on a national level?
The majority of this material was taken from the article “Getting Away with Murder,” by Robert James Bidinotto, which appeared in Reader’s Digest, July 1988.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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Running Time: 145 minutes
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
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Running Time: 130 minutes
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