Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Data, statistics and information regarding mandatory minimum sentencing and sentencing guidelines

History of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

History of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing: "Two years after enacting the SRA, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 (ADAA),48 which incorporated a tiered system of minimum sentences for crack, powder cocaine, and other commonly abused substances based on the quantity of the drugs involved.49 The ADAA was passed in the midst of public paranoia and outcry over the crack epidemic and the fear of AIDS being spread through drug use.50 This political climate led to broad bipartisan support for the ADAA, with the bill passing the House by a 392-16 vote and the Sena

Development of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws

Development of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws: "High levels of drug use and experimentation in the 1960s resulted in numerous long prison sentences under the Boggs Act.31 In 1970, Congress responded to the concerns of prosecutors, wardens, and families of those convicted, repealing virtually all provisions imposing mandatory minimum sentences for drug violations.32 Congress commented that lengthening prison sentences 'had not shown the expected overall reduction in drug law violations.'33"

Unintended Consequences of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

"Unintended Consequences of Mandatory Minimum Sentences:
"- Significant increases in the costs of corrections due to longer prison terms and an increasing prison population;
"- Removal from consideration of other sentencing options that may prove to be less costly and/or more effective than mandatory incarceration;
"- Impact on all aspects of the criminal justice system, including pleas or verdicts and offender eligibility for rehabilitation programs and early release;
"- Limiting the discretion of the sentencing judge."

Effect of Sentence Length and Mandatory Sentencing On Recidivism

Effect of Sentence Length and Mandatory Sentencing On Recidivism: "The study by the [Pennsylvania Sentencing] Commission found that neither length of sentence nor the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence alone was related to recidivism. In the four recidivism studies conducted as part of this project, the recidivism rates (i.e., arrest for a new crime or technical violation resulting in reincarceration) three years after release were as follows: drug delivery offenders (54%), school zone offenders (57%), repeat violent offenders (54%) and firearms offenders (50%).

Unintended Consequences of Mandatory Sentencing Laws

Unintended Consequences of Mandatory Sentencing Laws: "Mandatory minimum sentence laws appear to be contributing to increased sentence length, making more emphatic a trend in drug cases that predated their enactment. Mandatory minimum statutes and the guidelines seem also to have narrowed the difference in the sentences imposed for equally serious offenses involving marijuana and opiates, and to have red uced the importance of age and the distinction between leadership and middleman roles in the sentencing decision.

Supreme Court Opinion in Case of US v Booker

Supreme Court Opinion in Case of US v Booker: "Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court in part, concluding that 18 U. S. C. A. §3553(b)(1), which makes the Federal Sentencing Guidelines mandatory, is incompatible with today's Sixth Amendment 'jury trial' holding and therefore must be severed and excised from the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (Act). Section 3742(e), which depends upon the Guidelines' mandatory nature, also must be severed and excised.

Effect of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws on Crime and Arrest Rates

Effect of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws on Crime and Arrest Rates: "Though it is still too early to make a final judgment, RAND found that three strikes and truth-in-sentencing laws have had little significant impact on crime and arrest rates. According to the Uniform Crime Reports, states with neither a three strikes nor a truth-in-sentencing law had the lowest rates of index crimes, whereas index crime rates were highest in states with both types of get-tough laws."

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