Essay on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

1955 Words Dec 29th, 2011 8 Pages
Each year in America many people received prison sentences for crimes that pose little if any danger or harm to our society. Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in the American Justice System has long been argued by both Lawmakers and the public. We will go over some of the history of mandatory minimum sentences as well as the many pros and cons to these types of sentences. Some examples of pros and cons are the overall effect on public safety, the effect on the offenders, the cost to taxpayers, the lack of discretion for Judge’s, and whether the law should be repealed.
The history of Mandatory Minimum sentencing laws date back to the founding of this country, the idea of swift and certain punishment has always been popular among the public
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This can lead to corrupt convictions due to coerce guilty pleas to lesser offenses. This basically gives too much power to prosecutors who use the leverage of mandatory minimum sentences as a bargaining tool. This can be done through false testimonies from a defendant who would probably be going to prison anyway but will lie for a lesser sentence (Batey, 2002). As stated by Batey “Another major reason why mandatory minimum sentencing has failed is that it has given America’s prosecutors too much power in plea bargaining, an imbalance that has led to the incarceration of persons to fearful to insist on the trails that might have acquitted them” (Batey, 2002. P. 2).
As a result of mandatory minimum sentencing we now have overcrowding of our prisons system with minor criminals some of whom may be innocent. This in turn has made racial and ethnic bias perceptions due to the majority of offenders being incarcerated are of African American heritage or of Hispanic heritage. According to Sterngold, 2008 “Most of California’s prisons house more than 170,000 inmates, nearly twice the number it was designed to safely hold. Almost all of its facilities are bursting at the seams: More than 16,000 prisoners sleep on what are known as “ugly beds”—extra bucks stuffed into cells, gyms, dayrooms, and hallways. The effects of overcrowding—electrical