Crime Fighting: Go Directly To Jail

Go Directly To Jail

After three weeks of public posturing and back-room bargaining, the Senate last week approved a sprawling $3.3 billion anticrime bill, 71 to 26. The bill includes enough compromises to allow both sides to claim victory and store up ammunition for next year's inevitable election battle over which party is toughest on crime. By piling on amendments, Senators managed to touch most political bases: they stiffened penalties for crimes against the elderly, outlawed marijuana-seed advertising and allocated $2 million a year for a study of racism in the criminal-justice system.

At the heart of the bill is a trade-off between advocates of...

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