Who Should Go to Prison?
A first-time offender should not go to prison if he couldn’t legally have been shot and killed if caught in the act. (This is not, of course, to say that everyone who could have been shot and killed if caught in the act should go to prison.)
This principle makes sense to me because it reserves prison as a punishment only for those who present an immediate danger to other people. Following this rule, a first-time house burglar, murderer, rapist, or armed robber would be looking at possible prison time while a first-time thief or drug dealer would not.
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