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<p>As reported last week, amid the crack epidemic a generation ago, state and federal lawmakers had enacted a wave of tough crime measures that resulted in a nearly 800% increase in the number of prisoners in the United States, even as the population grew by only a third.</p>

As reported last week, amid the crack epidemic a generation ago, state and federal lawmakers had enacted a wave of tough crime measures that resulted in a nearly 800% increase in the number of prisoners in the United States, even as the population grew by only a third.

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Why Did Justice on Incarceration Take so Long?

As I watched the announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder this past week in San Francisco -- that federal prosecutors would no longer invoke mandatory minimum sentencing laws for certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders -- I kept asking myself: "Why so long?"