Going Soft on Crime

While California's tough three-strike law falters, prevention programs are keeping kids in line

Soft on crime? Next to being called a politician, that was every candidate's worst fear this season. The desperate need to talk tough gave rise to a clamor for three-strikes-you're-out laws and other stringent penalties. But do those measures have anything to do with what works in the real world? A street-level look suggests that the popular wisdom has it backward:

Sneakers, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, gang member, comes by his nickname honestly. "It's 'cause I'm so fast," he explains. "Real fast." Especially after he snatches a purse. Or burglarizes a home. Or pulls a trigger. Sometimes, though, Sneakers isn't quite fast...

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