Considered alone, a bill to create a new crime or to increase the penalty for an existing crime might seem straightforward and innocuous to the growth of the prison population.  Focusing on the categories of crime individually does not always reflect significant prison numbers.  However, when taken in the aggregate, year after year, the lawmaking practice of continually creating new crimes and lengthening sentences for existing crimes causes the tide of imprisonment to rise. It is mass incarceration by a thousand cuts.

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