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A push from the right: More conservatives joining fight to change sentencing guidelines

Since the late 1970s, rising crime has led lawmakers to require prison time for many non-violent offenses.

But some say eliminating the options of fines, work release, substance-abuse treatment and house arrest in favor of prison time can turn non-violent offenders into career criminals.

Now, as states face large budget deficits, calls for reforming sentencing for non-violent offenders also are coming increasingly from conservatives who call prison costs unsustainable.

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