Against Mandatory Minimums

Words: 436
Pages: 2

Mandatory minimums have increased America's reliance on prison made goods. The increased prison population has created a much larger cheap labor force. The practice of forcing prisoners to work for below minimum wage has been defended by saying, “that work is central to rehabilitation, reform, and the effectiveness of prison time” (Kang, 2009 Pg: 147). However that explanation does not elucidate why labor laws do not protect prisoners. America is clearly using prisoners as a source of cheap labor and mandatory minimums have simply increased the supply. This system is not only immoral it may very well violate the prisoner's human rights. “Critiqu(ing) the country’s human rights practices… President George Bush blocked the import of Chinese products allegedly made by prison labor” (Kang, 2009 pg: 158). The government …show more content…
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