New York Times Looks at Four Violent Crimes and Asks You to Be the Judge
Date:  12-12-2016

NYT points to new Brennan Center report showing 39 percent of people in prison are not threats to public safety
From The New York Times

For advocates of prison reform, the question is who should be diverted from jails and prisons, and who among the 2.2 million locked up should be freed? Opponents, however, argue that those convicted of a crime — especially a violent crime — should serve their full sentences, and that longer prison terms have contributed to the nation’s historic crime reductions in recent years.

In general, how much prison time should be given if someone is killed during a violent crime?

The question is critical in the discussion of prison reform because people convicted of violent crimes make up more than 50 percent of inmates in state prisons, where the majority of the nation’s prisoners are housed, according to the Justice Department.

While the American Civil Liberties Union has called for a reduction of the prison population by half by 2020 through the overhaul of sentencing laws, others say efforts should be focused on releasing — and treatment for — low-level drug offenders and people with mental illnesses.

But that would go only so far. In a report released Friday, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law said that any reduction in prison population would likely need to involve the release of some violent offenders after they have served sufficient time in prison and no longer pose much of a threat.

We explore the issue of sentencing in the four cases below. Continue reading >>