Essay about Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Nonviolent Offenders

Essay about Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Nonviolent Offenders

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It was June 18, 1971, the day that the United States of America would change forever. It
was the day that President Richard Nixon declared that the war on drugs was the number one
priority in the American criminal justice system. Throughout the years following this speech
congress enacted a number of laws to keep with the president 's wishes, one of which, was
mandatory minimum drug sentences. Mandatory minimum drug sentences are exactly what they
sound like mandatory sentences for various drug offenses. Throughout the last 15 years, the
public view on mandatory minimums has changed from a positive reaction with the vast majority
of reasonable people backing it, to one where the name simply brings on a negative connotationbut
why? And are mandatory minimum sentences really deterring crime as they were intended
to, or are they responsible for the overcrowding of jails with nonviolent offenders? (Oliver, 2)
In 1973, New York became the first state to enact mandatory minimum sentences. By
enacting these laws, it was thought that we could bring more safety to this country, Those in
favor of mandatory minimums stated that , “By adding these sentences, it would scare people
enough to stop committing drug offenses.” (Vero. 5) While that sounds great in theory, the
problem arises when the public is unaware of these laws. If the punishment for breaking a law in
unknown, than the fear for breaking the law is nowhere to be found.
According to Dr. Mulhausen, mandatory minimum drug sentences are necessary for
combatting indeterminate sentences done by judges. With these indeterminate sentences, Dr.
Mulhausen feared that judges were giving criminals a second chance at life at the expense of the
safety of the ppublic. By doing this, criminals wh...

... middle of paper ...

...and breaking the law, and
therefore should be equally guilty when it comes to deciding whether or not they should serve
time. Outrageous? I agree.
Mandatory minimum drug sentences had a great hypothesis and were good enough to
make it to the trial round when deciding how to end the war drugs. 20 years and many sad and
horrifying cases later, we realize that mandatory minimum drug sentences do not in fact lower
the drug crime rate. Instead, they help with overcrowding prisons, taking money away from
taxpayers, and keeping non­violent offenders locked away fro outrageously long period of time
while allowing violent offenders to walk freely among the rest of us. Mandatory minimums need
to be a done away with and drug sentences need to be handled on a case by case basis due to the
fact that the majority of them are not committed with the intent to hurt anyone or anything,

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