>Mandatory minimums and three-strikes laws have no immediate effects on
>incarceration rates, since the affected individuals are going to prison
Mandatory minimums insist that someone go to prison who might not have without them, so that directly influences what the statisticians blandly call "admissions." And mandatory minimums and three-strikes laws slow down the rate of release, which also swells the prison pop.
I figured, though, that they NYT wouldn't have given such prominence to a critique of mass incarceration if there wasn't an official rethink going on somewhere. Thanks for confirming my suspicions!