Mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which were introduced about three decades or so ago, allow judges to issue a minimum prison sentence at the discretion of the prosecutor, who determines the charges that are placed against a defendant. These laws, as outlined by the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (n.d), limit the power of the judges to make a judgment on the punishment that can be given to a defendant. The meaning being that mandatory minimums transfer the power to give sentences from the judges to the prosecutors, a scenario that is worsened by the fact that some prosecutors misuse this power. As such, mandatory minimum sentences should be repealed, particularly for the gun and drug-based offenses.
The mandatory minimum sentencing law provides a judge with a set minimum sentences based on the charges against the defendant. The minimum sentences are usually extremely long sentences. Judges are not able to reduce the charges no matter what the defense’s argument may be. Normally in court, the defense is able to argue for a shorter sentence, but that is not the case for mandatory sentencing laws. All the power of sentencing lies with the prosecutors in these cases. Mandatory minimum sentencing policies were set into action with good intentions, but the law did not turn out as expected. The mandatory minimum sentencing acts were created to provide equality that every offender of the particular crime will serve the same punishment. This ensures that there will be no bias. They were expected to lower crime rates, because people will possibly think twice before committing a crime if the mandatory minimum sentence is five year or if they have been convicted before, they will not want to be incarcerated again for double the time. Judges cannot change the sentence. All the reasons that the mandatory minimum sentencing laws were set into place appear to be good ideas, but they are ineffective. The law has not shown crime reduction. The history of mandatory sentencing in the United states for federal drug crimes had started with the passage of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, also known as SRA. Congress had changed sentencing by rejecting the idea or the possibility of
Over the past 40 years U.S. incarceration has grown at an extraordinary rate, with the United States’ prison population increasing from 320,000 inmates in 1980 to nearly 2.3 million inmates in 2013. The growth in prison population is in part due to society’s shift toward tough on crime policies including determinate sentencing, truth-in-sentencing laws, and mandatory minimums. These tough on crime policies resulted in more individuals committing less serious crimes being sentenced to serve time and longer prison sentences. The 1970s-1980s: The War on Drugs and Changes in Sentencing Policy Incarceration rates did rise above 140 persons imprisoned per 100,000 of the population until the mid 1970s.
Mandatory sentencing began in October 27 1986 Reagan signed a law Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. Frontline writes that the law allocated funds to new prisons, drug education, and treatment. But its main result was to create mandatory minimum sentences. The harsh sentences on crack cocaine use disproportionately affect African-Americans April 22, 2014.
In this day and age, There are five times as many people in jail as there were in the 1970s. Almost 5 percent of the population of the United States will go to prison at in point of their life. Conservatives believe that imprisonment reduces crime in two ways: it removes criminals from the public so they can not commit more crimes, and it also discourages people who would commit a crime as they consider the consequences. Unfortunately, neither of these outcomes have come to be true. In fact, mass incarceration and “tough on crime” laws have been extremely ineffective that instead of reducing crime, it increases it.
The justice system is constant work in progress as the system must change and evolve to meet the needs, demands and requirements of the times we live in. The justice system and its statutes sometimes struggle to keep up with the ever-changing world; thus making them lag behind. As stated, one of the core functions of the justice system is to provide intervention programs for those individuals who are deemed to be at risk. Intervention programs do exist but still the justice system is overburden with many criminal cases. The inability of justice programs to work as they are intended to is seen as one of the significant problems facing the justice system.
Within that statistic, most of the imprisoned are non-violent offenders. The problem starts with Arizona’s mandatory imprisonment laws. Research highlights that, “under Arizona's mandatory sentencing system, non-violent offenders make up the majority of state prisoners” (Greene). However, the mandatory sentencing does not just affect Arizona’s population. All across America, mandatory sentencing laws are forcing people to be put into prisons without a second thought.
As a result of truth-in-sentencing practices, the State prison population is expected to increase through the incarceration of more offenders by keeping them incarcerated for longer periods of time. Abadinsky, Howard, Probation and Parole, Theory and Practice, St. John’s University, Pearson, Twelfth
There are three components that make up the criminal justice system – the police, courts, and correctional facilities – they all work together in order to protect individuals and their rights as a citizen of society to live without the fear of becoming the victim of a crime. Crime, simply put is when a person violates criminal law; the criminal justice system is society’s way of implementing social control. When all three components of the criminal justice work together, it functions almost perfectly.
Untie the Judges Hands Imagine you are a fifty-one year old man and you have not eaten in two days, and you resort to theft. Stealing a fifty-cent package of doughnuts from the corner store. You are at your home when suddenly officers burst in and arrest you.
Introduction Sentencing methods and rationales are continually highly contested in the Criminal Justice system. Monetary penalties are particularly pivotal in these debates. According to Walsh, research from all corners of the world continually demonstrates that the poorest in society are more likely to be subject to the Criminal Justice System. This evidence Walsh argues, ‘cannot be ignored’, when considering which sentencing options should be used. The fine is the most commonly used penal sanction in most Western Penal systems.
With the failure of the rehabilitation programs, the United States had to turn to the retribution model of punishment. Also at the turn of the decade into the 80’s, The War on Drugs kick started the epidemic of prison overcrowding, and launched America into a downward plunge of economic and political turmoil. The mandatory minimum sentencing policy that was in place did not help the situation either, giving long incarceration sentences to prisoners who didn’t deserve it. Criminals were given the minimum sentences for crimes, and judges carried them out precisely. Race and poverty were also side contributors that contributed to the bigger picture of the issue.
As of September 2011, California incarcerated close to 144,000 inmates in its state prisons. This number fell in recent years owing to the pressure from SCOTUS and California policy changes. In 2006, California had a peak incarceration rate of 172,000 inmates (Rogan, 2012). Since 1970, California has seen 750% rise in incarceration levels, especially during the “war on drugs” campaign during the 1990s (Harvard Law Review, 2010, p. 753). With no end in sight to the rapidly growing number of inmates in California’s state prisons, the CDCR was challenged to manage the growing population.
These law makers must properly asses this bill and the affects it will have on prisons systems, individual offenders, and the crime rate. All offenders should not be generalized and sentenced according one law because every circumstance is different. We must restore our faith in the appointed criminal judges that they will do everything within their power to administer the law appropriately and fair based on evidence and intent. Overturning mandatory minimum laws starts with knowing a few specific details. These details include: what mandatory minimums are and what brought about their start, knowing what classification of offenders are affected by the laws and if it is warranted for the offense, the number of inmates incarcerated currently that are serving mandatory minimum sentences, and the impact mandatory minimum laws have on the prison systems.
There is a worldwide trend in the use of penal imprisonment for serious offenses as capital punishment has been renounced by an increasing number of countries. Harsh punishments include capital punishment, life imprisonment and long-term incarceration. These forms of punishments are usually used against serious crimes that are seen as unethical, such as murder, assault and robbery. Many people believe that harsher punishments are more effective as they deter would-be criminals and ensure justice is served. Opposition towards harsh punishments have argued that harsher punishments does not necessarily increase effectiveness because they do not have a deterrent effect, do not decrease recidivism rates and do not provide rehabilitation. In addition,