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Certainly, many offenders belong behind bars, especially those who are violent. I hold no brief for those who have chosen to live outside the bounds of civilized society, whether gangbangers who rape girls in savage “initiations” or carjackers who stick a gun in your face to steal your SUV. Research suggests that most violent crimes are committed by a small group of predators. And law-abiding black Americans are disproportionately the victims of those thugs.
But we don’t keep streets safer with draconian policies that lock up petty offenders. While many Americans believe that the stark decline in crime during the past decade is a result of harsh sentencing laws, experts say that the evidence doesn’t bear that out. “About 25 percent of the decline in violent crime can be attributed to increased incarceration,” according to The Sentencing Project….