Will reducing criminal penalties reduce crime?

Bizar Male

In summary

California is testing whether easing up on penalties for crime will result in less crime in the long run.

California is conducting an immense sociological experiment, testing whether reducing prison time for criminal acts will, in the long run, mean less crime.

Over the last decade, politicians and voters have lowered penalties for dozens of serious and minor crimes, reduced state prison populations by about 40% and adopted multiple programs to treat underlying conditions, such as drug use and lack of education, to deter offenders from committing new crimes.

It’s been a dramatic turnaround from previous decades, when the public demanded ever-tougher sentences and the state couldn’t build prisons fast enough to handle a tidal wave of new inmates, resulting in overcrowding so severe that federal judges intervened.

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