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Letters: Lives fractured by prison

Letters: Lives fractured by prison
Over the last 30 years, the number of inmates in federal prison has increased by 800%. Above, the California Correctional Health Care Facility in Stockton. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Re "Too many prisoners," Editorial, Feb. 5

Mass incarceration plagues our nation, so the recent bipartisan effort in Washington to limit harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses is a welcome antidote.

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Because of excessive and unjust mandatory minimum sentences supported by both parties three decades ago, the federal prison population has increased by 800%. The result is the permanent fracturing of thousands of lives, including people whose potential is wasted behind bars and children whose parents have gone absent much longer than necessary.

Unfortunately, diminishing the promise of the Smarter Sentencing Act by adding new mandatory minimum sentences was approved by a bipartisan contingent, including our own Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

As a pastor in South L.A., it is my hope and prayer that moving forward, the bill's promise isn't further diminished by punishments we already know to be unjust.

Gary Bernard Williams

Los Angeles

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