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If he could do it all over again


Pat Nolan has learned a few things since his tenure as an Assemblyman in California. One of them is this: A "Tough on Crime" approach to justice doesn't make our streets safer.

In a letter to his former colleagues in the California legislature, published in the Sacramento Bee, Pat explains his personal journey from packing offenders into prisons to championing sweeping corrections reforms. States across the country, he says, "have shown that it is possible to cut the costs of prisons while keeping the public safe."

Pat wishes he had a chance to go back and do things differently. "Why do conservatives defend a government system that costs us so much and fails us so often?" he wonders. It's a question he hopes policymakers and advocates throughout California -- and the country -- will take seriously.

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