America’s experiment with harsh punishment for nonviolent offenders has proved to be self-defeating. Rather than lessening crime, these policies promote recidivism when nonviolent offenders are unable to find employment, fall into poverty and return to crime.
A bill co-sponsored by two unlikely political allies, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., would right some wrongs in the law.
The legislation would incentivize states to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 by offering preferential treatment on certain federal grants; automatically expunge and seal the records of nonviolent juvenile offenders; and nearly eliminate the practice of placing juveniles in solitary confinement.