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December 3, 2012 (The New York Times)

Marc Mauer responds to “Sunday Dialogue: How We Punish Crime” in The New York Times

“…if we really hope to reverse America’s world-record prison growth, and its exorbitant costs, we need to examine the extreme sentencing policies that apply to serious offenders as well.

“The 18-year-old who is the getaway driver for a friend’s armed robbery of a drugstore will not necessarily be a threat to public safety 10 years later, yet will often be turned down by a parole board owing to the nature of the crime.

“Aside from arguments of justice and compassion, the implications of such sentences for public safety and fiscal policy are significant. There is little evidence that lengthy prison sentences have a substantial impact on crime, but they place enormous strains on federal and state budgets… “

 

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Felony Disenfranchisement, Collateral Consequences