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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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Allen’s Escape (access required)

Sen. Carolyn Allen, a Republican from Scottsdale, will retire from the Arizona Legislature after this year. Her rise and fall within the GOP illustrates either the Legislature’s shift to the right on the political spectrum — or Allen’s gradual move to the center during her 16-year career in the Legislature.

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