Mandatory Minimums : Prison Sentences Imposed On Offenders By Law Essay

Mandatory Minimums : Prison Sentences Imposed On Offenders By Law Essay

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Mandatory minimums, harsh prison sentences imposed on offenders by law, where discretion is limited. Offenders, most of the time nonviolent, are faced with prison terms that are meant for a drug kingpin, not a low level first or second time offender. Mandatory minimums have been proven not to be the answer in our criminal justice system and need to be changed. Mandatory Minimums has created a problem within our society where we send everyone to prison and don 't present offenders with better opportunities. We have turned into a society focused on retribution and deterrence, and have forgotten about rehabilitation.
Mandatory sentences are laws that provide certain sentences for certain crimes. Having drugs too close to a school, or having a certain amount of drugs has a mandatory minimum. In some sentencings mandatory minimums can have a life sentence. Mandatory sentencing has taken the power and discretion from the hands of the judge, and placed it in the hands of the prosecution. Judges are not allowed to impose a lesser sentence, or an alternative to prison, and are forced by the law to sentence these offenders, due these sentencing laws, with harsh sentences.
A greater reliance on incarceration combined with longer and mandatory sentences has contributed to the crowding problem in many state and federal prison systems. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the California prison system has a design capacity of nearly 80,000, however, by the end of 2001, it had an inmate population of more than 150,000—or almost 100% more than its design capacity. Nationwide, it costs an average of $54,000 to construct one bed space in a prison. In addition, the average cost of housing an inmate for one year ranges from $30,000 to $60...

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...e a high risk to go right back in. We have to put funding back into communities, society needs to stop spending so much money on sending people to prison, and spend more money trying to keep them out. Society has to put funding back into creating employment opportunities, affordable rehab, and focus on low income communities who need the most help. We need to leave the violent offenders that we are afraid of for prison, and for the people that really need help we can 't put them in jail. Mandatory Minimum sentences are not the answer, this bill needs to be reformed. We have learned that our prisons are filled with people just like Angelos, Echols, and Lockwood who didn’t deserve such harsh sentences and would have benefitted from a judge 's discretion. These people lives would not have been ruined by these sentences if they had better opportunities presented to them.

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