Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

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In the United States Drug crime rates have increased tremendously, and along with that come an increase in drug related convictions due to the diligent efforts of the Federal Justice System to convict those offenders. Mandatory minimum sentencing became popular in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the war on drugs effort. Since then mandatory minimum sentencing has been one of the more prominent measures taken when determining sentencing for drug related crimes. The implementation of mandatory minimum sentencing in general is in efforts to lower the rates of recidivism. Recidivism according to the National Institute of Justice is defined as an offender’s relapse into criminal activity. (Recidivism, National Institute of Justice ) Mandatory minimums…show more content…
Judges possess the power and freedom to impose tougher sentences. The implementation of mandatory minimums is in an effort to eliminate disparity in sentencing which come with judicial discretion and ensure proportional punishment. In the instance of drug related offenses, sentencing is based on the amount of drugs; rather than taking into consideration the defendant’s role, motivation, state of mind, or other individual characteristics says Barbara S. Vincent and Paul J. Hofer. Thus, offenders are more likely to receive the minimum term than others if their convictions involve extensive drug amounts and if they are repeat offenders. Mandatory minimums make it so that an individual’s role in a crime irrelevant, a drug kingpin and drug mule and essentially receive the same prison sentence. Federal prosecutors yield too much power; judges may be arbitrary in their sentencing. It is unethical if two people who commit the same crime get a different sentence, based off the mere fact of the judge’s lenience. Eliminating judicial discretion and discrediting case specific information can also potentially lead to over-criminalization, i.e. low level offenders tend to receive longer federal prison sentences than that of a high level offender. This adhere to punishment philosophy that is coherent. Mandatory Minimums are the most significant cause of prison overcrowding due to the unnecessary lengthy sentences. In a case outline in the fjc, a 49 year old woman with no prior criminal record described as an introvert by many was found guilty and sentenced to ten years in federal prison due to the mandatory minimum for the amount of crack involved in the case. Her sons were leaders of a large cocaine operation. The woman did not distribute or buy drugs of any stature and did not profit from the sales. She was aware that her home was being used as a distribution station and had not reported it, thus being

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