The United States incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than virtually any Western democracy. Many scholars argue that this is due, in large part, to mandatory sentencing laws concerning drug users. Others argue that judges have lost the ability to be flexible in tailoring sentencing to match the crime, and that the United States Sentencing Commission has essentially forced jurists to incarcerate individuals who might otherwise be rehabilitated outside of prison. To what degree do you feel that mandatory sentencing serves a legitimate public policy purpose? Do you believe that judges should have greater flexibility in establishing penalties for breaking the law? To what degree, if any, should voters have in providing input into sentencing guidelines?
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