Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

549 Words3 Pages
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing On the one hand, I believe that mandatory minimum sentencing reduces crime and it is fair to offenders and ensures uniformity in sentencing. Possible offenders and repeat offenders are expected to avoid crime because they can be sure of the sentence if caught. On the other hand, sentences are often greatly disproportionate to the severity of the offense, the focus on particular kinds of offenses tends to have a major negative impact upon certain categories of offenders and particular social groups, punishment is not particularly effective as a general deterrent, or even as a deterrent for specific offenders, putting people in prison is expensive, there is little evidence that the policy reduces crime, it does little if anything for victims, and there are less expensive and more effective alternatives to prison. All 50 states have laws mandatory minim um sentencing for crimes such as drunk driving, committing a crime with a dangerous weapon, and selling drugs. Such laws deny judges their traditional powers of discretion. Judges cannot reduce the term for offenses that carry over prescribed mandatory minimum sentences, and they are restricted from imposing alternative sentences in the community. Compulsory sentence laws increase the power of prosecutors, who decide what charges are brought against the defendants, and are popular among politicians because it makes politicians seem hard to the public. To keep repeat offenders off the streets, more than 25 states and the federal government have enacted three strikes laws. These laws mean long prison sentences of up to life in prison without parole after conviction for a third felony. Major disadvantages of the three strikes laws include the imprisonment of alot of nonviolent offenders that could be better handled through less expensive community sanctions and
Open Document