Drug Courts: Yes. Mandatory Minimums: No.
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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