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States' chief justices want us not to send so many people to prison

As Alex Stamm writes for the American Civil Liberties Union, chief justices in a number of states have begun making calls for reform. In various "State of the Judiciary" speeches made in state legislatures by chief justices, the name of the game was the number of people we send to prison.

One thing, according to many of the chief justices, that sends too many people to prison, is drug charges, especially the kind of drug charges that arise out of addiction.

One chief justice said, "Warehousing non-violent offenders who are addicted to drugs or are mentally ill does nothing to improve the public safety. Indeed, in the long run, it threatens it."

In another speech, the legislature heard the words "smart justice," in reference to the standard practice today: that jail time fits every type of crime. In reality, jail time might not be right in all circumstances.

In other speeches, chief justices questioned our nation's criminal justice policies regarding youth accused of crimes. "[It's] high time we change the way the justice system responds to 16- and 17-year-olds accused of non-violent crimes."

Source: States' Top Jurists Call for Criminal Justice Reform

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Attorney Chris Lewis