Across our country, thousands of people are behind bars serving extraordinarily long terms for a variety of low-level crimes. This is a result of well-intentioned anti-crime laws that have gone wrong.
Mandatory minimum sentencing laws enacted mainly to target drug crimes have become a mosaic of statutes that all but eliminate judicial discretion, mercy, or even common sense.
Early on, there were signs that mandatory minimums – and especially “three-strikes – had gone too far. Proponents had sold the measure by saying it would keep murderers, rapists and child molesters behind bars where they belong. Politicians saw the harsh …