In the past three years, about two-thirds of the states have lowered prison sentences or begun steering convicts into drug treatment or community corrections programs, reports Governing magazine. In many cases, Republican governors or legislators have led the way. There's a new shorthand phrase lawmakers of all stripes use to sell these policies to their constituents. Now they're getting "smart on crime." Why the new attitude? The short answer is the states' budget crises. After a decade of ratcheting up corrections budgets--states now spend nearly $40 billion on prisons--legislators suddenly found they had to . . .
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