Drug mandatory minimum penalties continue to result in long sentences in the federal system
" In fiscal year 2016, over half (52.8%) of offenders convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty faced a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years or greater.
" In fiscal year 2016, the average sentence for offenders who were convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty was 94 months of imprisonment, more than double the average sentence (42 months) for drug offenders not convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty.
" Offenders who qualified for relief received significantly lower sentences (64 months) than those offenders who remained subject to a mandatory minimum penalty at sentencing (126 months). Even when offenders received relief from a mandatory minimum penalty, the average sentence (64 months) was still one and half times greater than the average sentence for those not convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum.
" The guidelines also contributed to the sentence length as nearly three-quarters of offenders who remained subject to a drug mandatory minimum penalty (72.6%) had a guideline minimum that exceeded the statutorily required minimum, and the majority of offenders (58.8%) who remained subject to a drug mandatory minimum penalty received a sentence above the statutorily required minimum."
"Mandatory Minimum Penalties for Drug Offenses in the Federal Criminal Justice System," US Sentencing Commission, October 2017, p. 4.