Justice reform makes sense

For far too many years, “getting tough on crime” in America meant passing laws that would put more people in jail for longer sentences for less serious offenses. “Lock ’em up and throw away the key!” “Three strikes and you’re out!” Judges were barred from using judgment when it came to sentencing, with laws that took away their discretion.

As a result, American jails and prisons have been filled to capacity for a long time. Those inside have not been getting the education, services and programs to help them become better people, and when they get out they lack support to stay on the straight and narrow. So they re-offend, getting locked up for longer and harsher sentences.

This past week Congress passed a bi-partisan criminal justice reform bill, and President Trump gladly signed it on Friday.

The bill’s aim is to ease sentences for non-violent offenders, reduce the number of repeat offenders and provide more prison rehabilitation programs.

This isn’t going to solve the issues involved with crime and punishment in America, but it’s a good start. It’s better to spend money on rehabilitating criminals than to spend it on building more and bigger prisons to hold all the people we have been sending there to show how tough we are on crime.

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