judge for beginning court with thernLord’s Prayer. The chain gang issue marnup the ante for Alabama: some civilrnrights groups arc threatening to sue thernstate for violating international humanrnrights guaranteed by United Nationsrnconventions.rnThe main influence on GovernorrnJames’ decision was money: the cost ofrnincarcerating and “reeducating” prisonersrnhas been rising steadily all over thernUnited States, and by the beginning ofrn1995 the Alabama Department of Correctionsrnhad a $12 million deficit. In Alabama,rnprison conditions were so softrnthat convicts were actually turning downrnparole. One solution, emploed by thernsheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, hasrnbeen to house prisoners in tents andrndeny them all luxuries. Sheriff Arpaiornhas also put convicts to work on chainrngangs, gleaning fields and cleaning uprnroadways.rnIn Alabama, the Corrections Commissioner,rnDr. Ronald E. Jones, concludedrnthat expensive rehabilitation programsrnsimply did not work. Despite thernalarming increases of expenditures onrneducation and therapy, the recidivismrnrate remained unchanged. After spendingrnbillions of dollars on punishment, thernpeople of Alabama were no better off.rnOn the contrary, the number of fourand-rnfive time offenders is on the rise.rnChain gangs are a fair method of punishment,rnbecause they lower the cost perrnprisoner and allow the people to spendrnmore of their money on their own needs,rnas opposed to the penological theoriesrnproposed by supposed experts whose credentialsrnconsist of college courses takenrnfrom other supposed experts.rnIt is also fair to convicts. In Alabamarnthe chain gangs have been reserved forrnrecidivists. Critics say, “doing time” isrnsufficient punishment. Perhaps it is, forrnthe first-time drug-dealer or shoplifter.rnBut how to distinguish the punishmentrnof such first-timers from what is metedrnout to hardened repeat offenders who regardrnarmed robbery and rape as a way ofrnlife? Besides, a healthy man might preferrnto spend 12 hours a day out in the freshrnair instead of in a cell, and some Alabamarnprisoners are apparently demandingrnto be put on the gangs.rnIt is only fair that in some sense thernpunishment fit the crime, and workingrn12 hours a day on a road gang is a justerrnpunishment than mere incarceration. Itrnalso forces the prisoner to make somernrecompense to the society he has injuredrnby his crimes, and he is aware, with ever’rnbreath he takes, every rock he breaks,rnthat he is paying for his crimes.rnThe race issue has been raised, inevitably.rnA disproportionate number ofrnblack males are, in fact, locked up in staternprisons, and the imbalance is particularlyrnnoticeable in states like Alabama,rnwhere there is a large black population.rnLet us face the facts of the situation.rnThe reality is that blacks, while the’rnconstitute only II or 12 percent of thernnational population, commit over 50rnpercent of the violent crimes. Of coursernthey are more likely to be found on chainrngangs, because they are more likely to berncaught for murdering, assaulting, robbing,rnand raping their fellow citizens. Ifrnthey do not wish to work at hard labor,rnthey only have to give up their life ofrncrime. By the time a man commits murderrnor rape, there is no point to a discussionrnof poverty, social conditions, or prejudice.rnPlenty of poor black men do notrncommit crimes, and plenty of affluentrnwhite men do. We can only punish individuals,rnnot society.rnOne particularly “barbaric” aspect ofrnthe chain gang is the shame and embarrassmentrnsuffered by the convict. Hernimagines that the cars passing him by onrnthe highway are filled with his friendsrnand neighbors, all laughing at his misfortunes.rnA sense of shame is precisely whatrnso many criminals lack. In some casesrnnobody at home or in school ever botheredrnto tell them right from wrong; inrnothers, degraded community norms triumphedrnover the best efforts. As one retiredrncar thief has written: “In spite of allrnmy Sunday learning, to the bad I kept onrnturning. .. . No one could steer me rightrnbut Mama tried.”rnWhatever the cause of a man goingrnbad, public exposure to ridicule, whetherrnit takes the form of the stocks or a chainrngang, may be the best step toward rehabilitationrna prisoner will ever take. It isrnalso a powerful warning to young menrnwho are contemplating criminal acts.rnChain gangs arc a concrete and forcefulrnexpression of social disapproval, a publicrnconfession from the convicts that “Irnfought the law and the law won.”rn—Thomas FlemingrnCOLIN POWELL R.LP.? With impeccablerntiming, I interviewed Eisenhowerrnbiographer and Colin Powellrnbooster Stephen E. Ambrose just daysrnbefore Powell’s Noble Renunciation ofrnAmbition. But before our chat disappearsrninto that void (de?)populated bvrnMilton Shapp’s Inaugural Address andrnthe Oscar acceptance speech of PaulvrnShore, I retrieve this exchange:rnMe: One wa’ to look at Eisenhowerrnis as the Establishment’s alternativernto [Senator Robert] Taft, whornas a classical liberal and antiwar isolationistrnwas a potentially radicalrnPresident. In a way, wouldn’t Powellrnbe playing Eisenhower to, say,rnPat Buchanan’s Taft?rnAmbrose: Yes.rnprecisely.rnNofrnProfessor Ambrose is an honest partisan,rnand I suppose his man Powell wouldrnbe no worse than Clinton or Dole orrnCramm or the other replicants whornwould be President. The Free Soilersrnused to scoff at the “Whig and Democraticrnwings of the great Compromisernpartv of the Nation,” but the differencernbetween Henry Clay and the party ofrnLamar Alexander and Richard Lugar isrnthat Clay was a patriot and an American.rnBuchanan has flaws—his Clayite advocacyrnof a protectionism that amountsrnto a blank check for the most powerfulrnindustries and most cunning lobbyists;rnhis embrace of the truly rebarbative letterheadrnChristians with their Washingtonrnsuites and suctorial feats toward Caesarrn—but he is saying enough unsayablernthings to make this the most interestingrn(and, in the end, glumly predictable) Republicanrnrace since 1952. If he catchesrnfire in New Hampshire or South Carolinarnhe’ll be in for the Jerry Brown treatment.rnRecall that after Brown stunnedrnBill Clinton in the Connecticut primary,rnABC’s Nightline ran a heavil}- promotedrnstory charging that—gasp!—marijuanarnmay have been smoked in GovernorrnBrown’s house (while Jerry was away, nornless). This was a classic “who cares?” revelationrn—Brown should have used it asrnan excuse to call for repeal of our policestaterndrug laws—but it threw his campaignrnoff track long enough to ensure arnclear path to the nomination for Clinton.rn(About whom I heard, in 1983, far morernsubstantial rumors of cocaine use. Thisrnwas not roorback but a plausible storyrntold by a staffer from Clinton’s firstrnArkansas administration—a woman whornhad nothing to gain by telling me, herrncoworker, lies about an obscure Southernrngovernor. As the immortal Clashrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn