The Pros And Cons Of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws

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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 As such, mandatory minimum sentences should be repealed, particularly for the gun and drug-based offenses. Mandatory Minimum Sentence Laws Foster Uncontrolled Prosecutorial Discretion Evils Prosecutors do not get the training on how to sentence, meaning that if they do, they will not conduct the activity with utmost transparency (Bernick & Larkin, 2014). When the prosecutors have unreviewable discretion to sentence under the mandatory minimums, they end up not performing this duty responsibly (Bernick & Larkin, 2014). The aftermath is that uncontrolled prosecutorial discretion results, which is considered by Bernick and Larkin (2014), to be a far much greater evil. This is especially true given the fact that when the prosecutors have unreviewable prosecution power over the charges that they can decide to bring a charge to a violation of the law using a mandatory minimum
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