A mandatory sentence, in a Common Law system, refers to that people convicted of certain crimes must be punished with at certain minimum levels of penalty. For example, under federal law, selling 28 grams of crack cocaine automatically guarantees a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison without consideration of circumstance. Since the 1980s, mandatory minimums have been widely applied to drug offences in the US, which is commonly believed to have attributed to the bloated prison population and various other problems in the criminal justice system. There has been a movement recently dedicated to abolish this policy, and multiple non-profit organizations are using Twitter to spread the word.
— DeThomasis&Buchanan (@GvilleCrimeLaw) November 17, 2015
— Clergy NewDrugPolicy (@ClergyNDP) October 16, 2015
— US Justice Action (@USJusticeAction) November 22, 2015
People want to get rid of mandatory minimums for good reasons. Mandatory minimums have made little contribution in deterring drug offences, they have bloated the prison population, and they often create a bizarre situation where non-violent criminals get more years behind bars than those convicted of assault or murder.
— Attorney Nisha (@ngwlaw) November 13, 2015
— Amnesty @ FSU (@Amnesty_FSU) November 11, 2015
— Clergy NewDrugPolicy (@ClergyNDP) November 10, 2015
— Matthew Luttman (@MatthewLuttman) November 5, 2015
A gram a cocaine is will get you 10 years, but you can steal 88,000 people's pensions and get 5 years minimum security. #mandatoryminimums
— Will Ricks (@wm_ricks) October 29, 2015
Of course, not everyone is happy to see mandatory minimums gone. For prosecutors, abolishing mandatory minimums means one less powerful tool on their belts. However, the reasons they can provide pales in the face of the overwhelming evidences of mandatory minimums’ negative effects.
— Paul R Gormley LP.D. (@prgormley) November 7, 2015
— Matthew Segal (@segalmr) November 19, 2015