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Sheldon Whitehouse

Senators reach deal to reduce prison time for some offenders

Senate conservatives and liberals on Thursday united behind an overhaul of the criminal justice system, a rare bipartisan agreement that would allow some nonviolent drug offenders to get reduced prison sentences and give judges greater discretion in sentencing.

The legislation, years in the making, comes as disparate voices have spoken as one in saying the current system is broken, from President Barack Obama to the ACLU to the conservative Koch Industries. At the same time, national attention has focused on how police and criminal justice treat minorities after several high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police in several states, including Missouri and...