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The Burdens Of Representing The Accused In An Age Of Harsh Punishment, Abbe Smith
Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works
The crimes are not any worse than they used to be. They run, as crimes do, from the banal to the barbarous. But punishment seems to have taken on a life of its own.
There are people serving more than twenty years for nonviolent drug offenses. There are people serving more than thirty years for car theft, burglary, and unarmed robbery--crimes for which a harsh sentence used to be ten years. One Oklahoma woman is serving a thirty-five year sentence for "till-tapping"--stealing money out of cash registers--when she was in the throes of a heroin addiction. It is impossible to …