Mandatory minimums directly increase the number of Americans being put into a system that the government considers to be in violation of human rights.
Even putting aside the human cost of incarcerating so many Americans, the policy makes no fiscal sense. In 2010 there were 500 incarcerated for every 100,000 people in the United States, the highest per capita for any country ever recorded (Tsai, 2012). The United States’ incarceration rate is six times the global average (Liptak 2008). Assuming that Americans are criminals at the same rate as other non-Americans, this means the United States either spends vastly more on corrections than it needs to, or does not give inmates adequate access to resources. In