Essay On Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

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Introduction Crime, its punishment, and the legislation that decides the way in which they interact has long been a public policy concern that reaches everyone within a given society. It is the function of the judicial system to distribute punishment equitably and following the law. The four traditional goals of punishment, as defined by Connecticut General Assembly (2001), are: “deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation.” However, how legislature achieves and balances these goals has changed due to the implementation of responses to changing societal influences. Mandatory minimum sentences exemplify this shift. Defined as a public policy that imposes an outlined amount of prison time based on the crime committed and the defendant’s criminal history, these sentences dictate that a judge must enact a statutory fixed penalty on individuals convicted of certain crimes, regardless of extenuating circumstances. Such laws have removed discretionary sentencing power from judges, instead focusing on severe punishments in line with national drug and crime concerns. While the original goal of mandatory minimum sentences was to deter potential criminals, reduce drug use, control judicial prudence, the policy has had extreme consequences such as sentencing imbalances and…show more content…
As outlined by the Connecticut General Assembly in a 2005 study, proponents of the law believe mandatory minimum sentencing are first, effective in deterring severe offenses such as weapon and drug crimes. Second, protect against bias during sentencing. Third, they increase prison sentences for convicted offenders, thereby removing these individuals from the environments in which they would commit more crimes. Lastly, proponents trust the penalties will persuade lower-level offenders to testify against high-level offenders to negotiate their sentence (CGA,

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