Mandatory Minimums: A National Injustice

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Mandatory Minimums: A National Injustice Mandatory minimum drug sentencing is legislation passed by Congress in 1986 to create harsher punishments for drug offenders. These laws were created at a time when drug use was beginning to rise dramatically. This type of sentencing was meant to impose harsh, excessive sentences on any type of drug offense, despite other circumstances. While these laws seem good in theory, they were not well thought out. The creators and supporters did not consider the negative consequences of these strict laws. The injustices of federal mandatory minimum sentences have been present for years in the United States justice system. These laws are costly, unjust and excessive in our society. First, the most obvious effect of mandatory minimums is what it costs our nation financially. The sentences of drug offenders are now extremely long, and keeping large numbers of people in jail for long amounts of time is very costly. The U.S. taxpayers are the ones suffering because they are the ones that are forced to pay for these increasing costs. The cost of keeping just one person in prison is incredible. The cost of imprisoning just one person is on average 23,000 dollars per year. It is less expensive to put someone through college for four years than it is to incarcerate someone for four years. The amount of U.S. tax dollars going towards prison costs is growing faster than all other federal funding. Everyday 4.14 million dollars of U.S. taxpayer money goes towards federal prisons and 1.51 billion dollars annually (Cruel). These costs are continually and dramatically increasing. From 1986, when mandatory minim... ... middle of paper ... ...adator.htm>. Easterbrook, Gregg. “Run On Sentencing.” New Republic 220.17 (1999): 57. Greider, William. “Mandatory Minimums: A National Disgrace.” Rolling Stone 784 (1998): 42. Marks, Alexandra. “Cost Concerns Drive States to Ease Tough Sentences for Some Drug Offenders.” Christian Science Monitor 89.113 (1997): 1. Risley, David. “Mandatory Minimum Sentences: An Overview.” May 2000. Drug Watch International. 27 Feb. 2005. . “Study: Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing Don’t Work.” 12 May 1997. CNN. 14 March 2005. . Williams, Pete. “Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: End Minimum Sentences.” 9 Aug. 2003. MSNBC.com. 27 Feb. 2003. .

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