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Debra Erdley reports in the Sunday, August 23, 2009 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that while “tough on crime” laws have served to increase prison populations, there has been no corresponding decrease in the crime rate. According to State Senator Stewart Greenleaf, the harsh penalties he and fellow legislators enacted served to punish non-violent offenders more severely, but statistics indicate that crime in Pennsylvania has not decreased. As a result of mandatory sentences for drug offenders and other harsh sentencing schemes, roughly half of Pennsylvania’s prison population consists of “non-violent offenders and mentally ill inmates.”

The article also points out that the general public holds an overly simplistic view of crime and punishment and are too easily swayed by the belief that incarceration is the ideal solution to crime problems.

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