Impact of Mandatory Minimum Penalties on the Federal Criminal Justice System

"Statutes carrying mandatory minimum penalties have increased in number, apply to more offense conduct, require longer terms, and are used more often than they were 20 years ago. These changes have occurred amid other systemic changes to the federal criminal justice system, including expanded federalization of criminal law, increased size and changes in the composition of the federal criminal docket, high rates of imposition of sentences of imprisonment, and increasing average sentence lengths. The changes to mandatory minimum penalties and these co-occurring systemic changes have combined to increase the federal prison population significantly."


"Report to Congress: Mandatory Minimum Penalties in the Federal Criminal Justice System" (Washington, DC: US Sentencing Commission, October 2011), p. 83.