Every year, federal judges sentence more than 80,000 criminals. Those punishments are supposed to be fair — and predictable. But seven years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw a wrench into the system by ruling that the guidelines that judges use to figure out a prison sentence are only suggestions.
Republicans in Congress say that's led to a lot of bad results. They're calling for an overhaul of the sentencing system, with tough new mandatory prison terms to bring some order back into the process.