• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10

Mandatory Minimums: A National Injustice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Brittany Kuzman Sister Marie Hubert Kealy Composition II 22 April 2005 Mandatory Minimums: A National Injustice Mandatory minimum drug sentencing is legislation passed by Congress in 1986 to create harsher punishments for drug offenders. These laws were created at a time when drug use was beginning to rise dramatically. This type of sentencing was meant to impose harsh, excessive sentences on any type of drug offense, despite other circumstances. While these laws seem good in theory, they were not well thought out. The creators and supporters did not consider the negative consequences of these strict laws. The injustices of federal mandatory minimum sentences have been present for years in the United States justice system. These laws are costly, unjust and excessive in our society. First, the most obvious effect of mandatory minimums is what it costs our nation financially. The sentences of drug offenders are now extremely long, and keeping large numbers of people in jail for long amounts of time is very costly. The U.S. taxpayers are the ones suffering because they are the ones that are forced to pay for these increasing costs. ...read more.

Middle

Even though these facts and statistics are very shocking it is still difficult to really understand these laws' detrimental effects. The only way to truly comprehend the terrible effects is to know how it affects real people in real life situations. One example is Bill Stonner, a real estate developer in New York. He is currently serving ten years in prison, a mandatory minimum sentence for growing marijuana. His wife, Susan, knows that what her husband did was wrong and punishable, but the sentencing was not fair. She states, "But 10 years is a little excessive. It was his first offense. He had no prior records...now we have two children that miss their father terribly (Marks 1). This is just one of many examples of a family drastically affected by the extreme sentencing brought about by mandatory minimums. While Bill Stonner was in the wrong for growing drugs, he did not deserve ten years away from his family, and they are the real victims. These strict laws and system make sentencing dreadfully unjust. Mandatory minimums are practically set in stone, they do not allow the judges to use open judgment, which results in unjust punishment. ...read more.

Conclusion

When compared to sentencing for other crimes, mandatory minimums just seem ridiculous. The length of sentencing for a first time drug offender far succeeds those sentenced for more heinous crimes, like firearms, sexual abuse, assault, manslaughter, burglary and auto theft (Cruel). Under New York law, a person caught selling two ounces of cocaine will receive a 15 year minimum sentence, while a person convicted of rape will only serve a 5 year sentence (Easterbrook 4). Frank Bowman, a law professor at Gonzaga University, states "Long , mandatory sentences for significant drug traffickers are one thing, but rules like five years for possession of five grams of crack cocaine are morally abhorrent" (Easterbrook 4). Our nation truly needs to look over these strict laws and see what it is really doing to our society. Our government needs to look at the thousands of people affected by them. There are so many that have been prosecuted unfairly and do not deserve the harsh punishments that they have received. Those that are imposing these laws should hear the stories of those that they have imprisoned and see them as who they are, people, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and not just another statistic. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Machinery of Justice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Machinery of Justice essays

  1. Critically evaluate the aims and consequences of sentencing and show how the laws regarding ...

    The notion of exemplary sentencing has caused some concern, due to the fact that it is all very well to punish someone harshly, but if it is not known about then it will not deter other people from committing the same crime.

  2. The Death Penalty in Canada. There are many issues surrounding the rebirth of ...

    greatly questions a countries moral if they decide to make these unnecessary risks. Another reason people typically tend to favour the death penalty is because of costs. Some argue that it is more beneficial to kill a convict so tax dollars can go to other more important things instead of keeping a prisoner in jail.

  1. Microsoft Antitrust Case Microsoft is a large diversified computer software manufacturer. Microsoft produces ...

    Judge Penefield Jackson found the following: 1. The relevant antitrust market is the PC operating systems market for Intel-compatible computers. 2. Microsoft has a monopoly in this market "where it enjoys a large and stable market share. 3. Microsoft's monopoly s protected by the applications barrier to entry, which the

  2. Principles of Sentencing

    being more readily deterred by prospects of being apprehended. Persistent offenders with weak social ties, such as persistent burglars, often act impulsively, and in circumstances that they themselves define as a situation of pressing need. Such impulsivity may reduce these offenders' amenability to being deterred through increased penalties (Criminal Deterrence and Sentence Severity, 1999).

  1. The Canadian Justice system towards aboriginal offenders

    would favour a holistic approach to restore balance to all parties of the victimization. In addition to the formality of the justice system, the Euro- Canadian principles of neutrality and hierarchy serve to perpetuate the resentment of aboriginal offenders. From an aboriginal perspective, a system in which "laws are accessible

  2. Examine recent trends in the use of custody in respect of juveniles over the ...

    often kept in prison custody when they could be placed in Local Authority secure accommodation, or could benefit from training centre places or be supervised under other community schemes. Less than 10% of young offender places are in Local Authority secure accommodation (Harker, 2002).

  1. Principles on which sentencing decisions are based

    Deterrence is an obvious aim of sentencing. The idea is simply that if a penalty is imposed for committing a crime this should deter both the particular offender and others from committing that type of offence. This may involve the imposition of exemplary sentences: a sentence to make an example

  2. Custodial Sentences.

    This means that the offender is given a custodial sentence plus a further period (the 'extension period') during which the offender is at liberty on license. to have greater control over sexual offenders when they leave prison. Such offenders are required to register with the police so that it is known where they live.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work