I’ve run into it before, and I’ve commented on it many times: the sentencing guidelines and the multitude of crimes have created a place where even the most minor crime can easily mean jail time. There’s a nice essay over at The Atlantic where a first hand story shows how much has changed in the past twenty years- and how wrong those changes are.
Thanks to mandatory minimums and aggravating factors, a young convicted person can quickly face spending their lives locked up. If this is where a “tough on crime” stance has gotten us, maybe its time we took another look at how tough we need to be?
(And this doesn’t even begin to address how the Adam Walsh Act is about to take effect and ruin young criminals lives even if they don’t get jail time. Stay tuned for an overview of that one).