Can our country roll back sentences and release prisoners without sacrificing decades of hard-won reductions in crime? Many are skeptical. They fear we are on the brink of a spike in violent crime, already reported in some cities this year.

Yet politicians from both sides of the aisle are calling for a reduction in imprisonment. And bills in Congress, such as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, are gaining traction. Is this the right thing to do? The United States is enjoying the safest time in decades. Do we really want to disrupt that and risk a return to the violence and drug epidemic of the 1980s?

As police chiefs who together have 70 years of experience managing crime, we firmly believe that we can reduce incarceration and crime together. We know firsthand that more incarceration does not keep our country safe. Our experience and research show that good crime control policy is not about locking up everyone. It’s about locking up the right people.

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