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The Widely Read USA Today...

...mostly applauds the Attorney General's decision to finesse mandatory minimum sentencing by executive fiat.  The USA Today editorial is here.

The paper was gracious enough to ask me to write a dissent, and I was happy to oblige, here.

I will note only a few things.  First, the paper acknowledges that the idea of mandatory minimum sentencing was and is sound  --  that the legislature has every right and reason to establish a floor beneath which a judge cannot go for certain very serious offenses.

Second, while USA Today uses the example of Texas as one jurisdiction that has succeeded (so far) after a few years of tamping down on the use of imprisonment, it does not question that, for 40 years and across 50 states, more imprisonment has meant less crime, and less imprisonment has meant more crime.

Third, the paper does not dispute my point that "non-violent" drug offenses  --  to which the AG has said his new, look-the-other-way policy will principally apply  -- can be harmful and, hundreds or thousands of times each year, fatal (e.g., overdose deaths).

Although I disagree with the paper's conclusions, I'm grateful to see, for once, some balance in the media about this issue.

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