Should Mandatory Sentencing Be Mandatory?

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Overcrowding prisons at the cost of the taxpayers’ dollar, people who need rehab sitting in prison for years at a time instead of getting the help that they need, and judges cannot do anything about it. Mandatory minimum sentencing has taken away judges’ discretion when sentencing cases. Drug offenses often receive heavier sentences than they should due to the use of mandatory minimums leaving people to question the fairness of the justice system. The use of mandatory minimums when sentencing drug offenses wrongfully incarcerates the convicted for longer than necessary rather than providing the rehabilitation the individual needs to break their habit and re-enter the public. While throughout history, there have always been some types…show more content…
Since the first mandatory minimums were created, the number of crimes carrying minimum sentencing has now more than doubled (Bernick and Larkin). Mandatory minimums were created as a way to establish a sense of similarity in how cases would be sentenced and were developed in hopes of deterring possible criminals from committing any crimes. Those in favor of the minimum sentencing claimed that the communities would be safer due to the new sentencing locking criminals behind bars (Henderson, Wade). Mandatory minimums were created as a restriction for judges, but the ones paying the price for them are the convicted. Today, there is a wide variety of crimes that carry a mandatory minimum sentence, with new minimums being added almost yearly. Today, the United States has more people incarcerated than ever before. More than 2 million people in the United States alone are in prison, three times the amount than before there were sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums (Bernick and Larkin). “The Federal Bureau of Prisons is overcrowded, operating at nearly 40 percent over capacity and housing a large population of non-violent drug offenders, at a significant cost to taxpayer” (Bernick and Larkin). Every year taxpayers are paying to keep inmates incarcerated. The average cost to keep one inmate in prison for a year is around $29,000. In state prisons alone, taxpayers spend over $50 billion dollars
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