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Letter: A plea for justice reform

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

Presently throughout the nation there is a growing consensus that our criminal justice system is in need of reform. The U.S. incarcerates a staggering, nearly 1.6 million people. That is significantly more than any other industrialized country. While without a doubt it is appropriate and effective to jail serious and violent criminals, too frequently nonviolent, low-level offenders spend decades in our criminal justice system. Sadly, this pattern of over-incarceration decreases the future opportunities of the incarcerated individuals, drastically harms the families they leave behind, costs the federal and state governments billions annually, and often does little to make our streets safer.

Regardless of the fact that the creation and enforcement of many criminal laws falls under the power of individual states, the federal government can lead reform efforts by improving its own criminal code and incentivizing best practices at the state level through grant req...

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