Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Essay

Words: 1979
Pages: 8

Each year in America many people received prison sentences for crimes that pose little if any danger or harm to our society. Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in the American Justice System has long been argued by both Lawmakers and the public. We will go over some of the history of mandatory minimum sentences as well as the many pros and cons to these types of sentences. Some examples of pros and cons are the overall effect on public safety, the effect on the offenders, the cost to taxpayers, the lack of discretion for Judge’s, and whether the law should be repealed.
The history of Mandatory Minimum sentencing laws date back to the founding of this country, the idea of swift and certain punishment has always been popular among the public
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The state has the highest recidivism rate in the country, close to 70 percent-compared with about 50 percent nationwide” (Sterngold, 2008).
In order to help out prison overcrowding, we should focus on drug rehabilitation and treatment programs. Another way is through job placement programs for those members who have completed treatment. Studies have shown that when individuals are employed they are more likely to be successful in treatment and to remain drug free after. According to West, 2008 “Employment has also been found to correlate with less severe rates of substance use before treatment, shorter lifetime rates of use and addiction, and lower rates of co-occurring conditions and outcomes typically associated with use. Competitive employment is also thought to aid in recovery process by facilitating increases in self-worth and by aiding in the building of drug-free peer relations” (West, 2008. P. 1). Programs such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) focus on elementary school children and teaching them to resist using drugs. These programs teach children to resist peer pressure and how to make better decisions.
Some critics of mandatory sentencing feel that money spent on long incarcerations is less beneficial in the war against drugs and could be better spent on other programs designed to fight drug abuse (Montaldo, 2011). So if we look at ways of lowering cost to taxpayers one