The myth of the low-level offender | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

The myth of the low-level offender

When it comes to criminal justice, you’re probably familiar with the following phrases: Three strikes. Mandatory minimum sentences. Truth in Sentencing. They’re shorthand for policies that many say have put far too many Americans behind bars. Another phrase people toss around is “the low-level offender.” You’ll hear it on Capitol Hill, where these days bipartisan consensus is building around the need to reduce the prison population. If we would just release low-level offenders, the argument goes, we could end mass incarceration. The thing is...some people say the low level offender is a myth, or at the very least, a designation without a clear definition. So, what could that mean for the discussion we’re having in this country about how we mete out justice for crimes? We're joined by WBEZ criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer and Mark Kleiman, a Professor of Public Policy at New York University who specializes in crime policy. (Flickr/Michael Coghlan)

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