Getting Less Tough on Crime without Going Soft

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During the crime wave of the 1990's, Congress imposed mandatory minimum sentences for many crimes — on the grounds that locking up inmates and throwing away the key would make America safer. Now, both Republicans and Democrats agree that unintended consequences have created a mandate for change. In a rare display of bipartisanship last week, leading Senators of both parties announced a reform proposal. Supporters on both sides say it doesn't go far enough — but it might have a chance of passing.