Drug Courts: Yes. Mandatory Minimums: No.

by TChris

Mandatory minimum sentences have many critics, ranging from Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court to organizations like Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Even the Wall Street Journal has editorially condemned mandatory minimums. Examples of unfair mandatory sentences (including this one) abound.

Congress nonetheless continues to consider the addition of new mandatory minimums to federal sentencing law. Jack Moseley, writing for the Arkansas News Bureau, explains why Congress should focus its efforts on the creation of drug courts that divert drug users from the criminal justice system, rather than sentencing laws that promote the seemingly endless growth of our prison population:

Prison turns first-time drug offenders into hardened criminals. Drug courts return most to productive lives in society. It's just that simple. So what is it that Congress doesn't get, even when the most conservative judges tell them they are wasting taxpayer money and destroying lives while doing untold damage to respect for law and order in this nation?

It's time to stop this insanity. Bobby Kennedy was right: Yes, life sometimes is unfair; that should not keep us from trying to make it more fair. Every case should be judged on the evidence, the circumstances and other factors that any judge should have the right and obligation to consider - not by the one-size-fits-all laws enacted by uninformed and apparently blind and mindless lawmakers.

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    Re: Drug Courts: Yes. Mandatory Minimums: No. (none / 0) (#1)
    by wishful on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 03:44:28 PM EST
    TChris, the problem is succinctly described in your last sentence. Lawmakers are uninformed and apparently blind and mindless. If they think that they are doing the nation any favors by their fake "tough on crime" stance, they are sadly mistaken. The more average people they snare in their traps, the more average people and their loved ones and neighbors are going to lose all respect for the increasingly fake law and order. These lawmakers will be the only ones left believing their own lies anymore. That is not a good thing for purposes of maintaining a civilized society.

    Re: Drug Courts: Yes. Mandatory Minimums: No. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 04:49:44 PM EST
    Perhaps the question ought to be: "Why are some drugs illegal to begin with?" A deceptively simple question, whose historically based answer would shock many here. Acting upon the knowledge that that answer would provide would free this nation from many problems that never had to exist in the first place. Just as our grandfathers did with alcohol Prohibition, we could reduce crime overall, eliminate the need for drug courts, empty many prisons of the non-violent, restore many civil rights weakened under the rubric of the DrugWar, and reduce our tax burden. And as for the boringly predictable "But what about the children????", I can only suggest that when some kids themselves are dealers, the present regime is hardly working. Whereas in liquor stores, 'carding' has proven quite effective at restricting under-age access to alcohol and tobacco. The Federal War on Drugs is 90 years old; well past the age of retirment. It's long past time to hand it the gold watch and let it go.

    Re: Drug Courts: Yes. Mandatory Minimums: No. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:39:33 AM EST
    What is happening to our world today. everyone has there mind set on drug dealers, drug laws. people there are muders going on. kids being killed and raped. these offenders, and killers get off easyer then drug dealer. If you would get help for second and third drug offeners, and let them get into a treatment program. your jails might not be so full. a twenty year addicted is not going away unless that person gets help. really what is wrong with you people. If the program don't work for that person, then incress prison terms. but give them atleast a chance.