Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Nonviolent Drug Crimes Essay

1644 WordsOct 29, 20167 Pages
Mandatory Minimum Sentences For the vast majority of crimes committed in the United States, the fate of those who have been found guilty is left in the hands of a judge, after a trial by jury. However, since the 1950’s the fate of nonviolent drug offenders has been shifted to the hands of the partisan prosecution with the expansion of mandatory sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentencing is a system which sets minimum jail sentences for crimes, which not even judges can overturn. In the decades after the 1950s, with the increasing war on drugs, minimum sentencing laws have spread further and further into nonviolent drug related crimes, the effects of which have been almost universally negative. Mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug crimes has proved to be a cost ineffective system which exacerbates the problem of mass incarceration while failing to deter crime, provide rehabilitation, and lower drug usage. Since the expansion of mandatory minimums, incarceration rates have gone up exponentially. So much so that today, more than half of federal prisoners are in on drug related offenses, most of which are low level offenders (Gross, 68). The problem with this is that one of the ideas behind mandatory minimums is that low level offenders with no chance of getting off, can hope to reduce their sentences by providing information on individuals higher up in drug gangs. The problem with this idea is that according to Stephen Schulhofer, Director of the Center for Studies
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