Pros And Cons Against Mandatory Minimums

1200 Words 5 Pages
Several decades ago the United States government created a set of mandatory minimum sentencing laws to help fight crime in the country. These laws require that judges sentence offenders of certain crimes for at least a minimum amount of years. Mandatory minimum sentences were created for a variety of crimes, but Robert NeSmith, editor-in-chief of the Law and Psychology Review of the University of Alabama Law School writes that the majority of federal prisoners is incarcerated for drug related cases pertaining to mandatory minimums (NeSmith 254). The system of mandatory minimum drug sentencing currently enforced by the United States federal government has failed to provide negative reinforcement and proven ineffective in assigning just punishment …show more content…
First, mandatory minimums limit judicial discretion and constitute too general a punishment for similar offenses without consideration of the different circumstances surrounding each case. Evan Bernick, Assistant Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement at the Institute for Justice and former Visiting Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and Paul Larkin, Senior Legal Research Fellow for the Heritage Foundation and former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote that “statutes imposing mandatory minimum sentences result in arbitrary and severe punishments that undermine the public’s faith in America’s criminal justice system”. To illustrate their point, Bernick and Larkin bring up the case of a financially desperate single mother who experienced the severity of this sentencing practice. The woman received a 10 year prison sentence after a stranger paid her to mail a package that she didn’t know contained 232 grams of crack cocaine. She had no previous criminal history (Bernick and Larkin). Such an occurrence is immoral and cannot be tolerated. Without accounting for the details of each case, mandatory minimum laws automatically sentence offenders a certain amount of years. This system is not effective in distributing just and deserved sentences. Only a qualified federal judge can study each unique case and its circumstances and reach an educated decision which rightfully punishes drug

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