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Readers sound off on David Gilbert’s parole, Gabby Petito and MTA mask enforcement

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Ithaca, N.Y.: The editorial “Be fair” (Sept. 20) asked for fairness and due process in the parole hearing for David Gilbert. I agree, but the Parole Board must be consistent in this respect.

The editorial implies that Gilbert is insincere in his remorse and that he has not changed in 40 years. Words of remorse and rehabilitation may be cheap, but actions do speak. Gilbert has repeatedly expressed his remorse for the deaths of the three men in the Brink’s robbery and the pain caused by this terrible crime to their families. The changes in him over 40 years are reflected in his conduct in prison. He has not had a single disciplinary violation, which is almost unheard of. He pioneered a peer-to-peer AIDS prevention program that saved many lives. He helped to lead an anger management program and intervened in situations that might have led to violence in prison. He mentored other prisoners, always counseling them to non-violence and constructive change. He counseled his many young visitors always to seek social change without resorting to violence.

Hard evidence of all of this is in his parole file as well, supporting the “claims of transformation” your editorial derides. Nothing can bring back the lives lost 40 years ago, but our legal theory of punishment leads to the inescapable conclusion that 40 years’ incarceration is sufficient punishment for this crime. Cynthia Grant Bowman

Brooklyn: “Be fair” (editorial, Sept. 20) seems to embrace an eye-for-an-eye approach to punishment. Such a tradition has long been abandoned by the Judeo-Christian tradition, replaced by a commitment to repentance and remorse, mercy and forgiveness and redemption. The lives lost in the Brink’s robbery can never be replaced. But to insist that David Gilbert, after 40 years in prison, should spend the rest of his life there for his role as an unarmed getaway driver in that tragic event is not the appropriate response. He is now almost 77 and should be........

© NY Daily News

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