A Call for a Revision of Mandatory Minumum Drug Laws Essay

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Does selling drugs once warrant a broad, minimum sentence of five years that would be similarly assigned to one who regularly sells drugs? A typical court-ordered sentence for selling drugs is much less than a five-year sentence, but with mandatory minimum sentences, judges are required to sentence those found guilty to a minimum of five years behind bars. The primary problem with mandatory minimum sentences is that they inherently sentence an individual solely based on the type of crime as opposed to the extent, severity, or circumstances. These laws are sometimes extreme and considered to be unconstitutional by many. As an issue of immense gravity, these laws are highly controversial and evoke a wide range of emotions. The discretion of…show more content…
The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prison population, clearly indicating that too many people are being incarcerated as a direct result of the mandatory minimum sentences. The continued increase of people in prison has been found to be caused by the “war on drugs” and harsher penalties for certain types of offenses. All of these have to do with the mandatory minimums due to the 5 year minimum sentence for drug offenses which have established harsher penalties for many offenses which should certainly be reduced. The mandatory minimums are causing over incarceration which is causing overcrowding which in turn causes new prisons to be built using taxpayer money. Hawaii, for example is considering building a new prison on Oahu and new jails statewide to alleviate the state’s overcrowding crisis. They had formerly sent their prisoners to other states to be housed. State Senator Will Espero said that a challenge to put these plans in motion however will be funding. This funding will come from our taxpayer money. Prisons are extremely expensive to run and every penny it costs to run prisons is provided by taxes. These prisoners, while incarcerated, are collecting unemployment checks which are collectively adding up to than $10 million in unemployment insurance benefits paid out to more than 7,600 people behind bars. On the other hand, State Comptroller Matt Boxer says that changes
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