College Essay Examples

Mandatory Minimum Sentence


The fight against drugs is a common concept dating back to 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared it the worst enemy to the American nation. Due to the side effects of drugs on American citizens, various policy formulations, judicial reviews and white house orders have been initiated for the past four decades. Legislative actions on drug abuse led to introducing the harsh mandatory minimum sentencing that restricted judgment to imprisonment of drug offenders (Neely 2020).  The legislation led to overcrowding of prisons, with an estimation of 2.3 million Americans being imprisoned. It has also destroyed family setups and has inadequate solutions to the country’s drug enemy. In this regard, mandatory minimum sentencing laws are considered to be disproportionate, ineffective, expensive, and ultimately erosive to criminal justice as a whole.

I arrived at this topic by studying criminal justice. The criminal justice system in the United States is not fully effective, and destruction and reconstruction of the system are necessary. The number of prisoners in prison cannot be accommodated by the insufficient budget leading to offenders getting back to society with inadequate useful and contributable skills arising from inadequate rehabilitation while in prison (Jefferson-Bullock 2016). Despite Florida’s general public believing that the mandatory minimum sentencing effectively minimizes crime and enhances safety, law enforcement officers have a different perception concerning their responsibility to the general public. Due to the high number of offenders that compromise the officers’ job efficiency, it is appropriate for law enforcement to suggest other safety measures on issues regarding drug use (Hoft 2018). 

Alternative methods worth brainstorming to mitigate the negative impact of mandatory minimum sentencing include probation and home rehabilitation. The single simplest remedy that rose to outdo the harsh sentencing model abolishes long determinate criminal sentences (Jefferson-Bullock 2016). The objective of criminal punishment is aligned to retributivist and practical principles, which state that criminals should be punished for the benefit of the entire society and penalize immoral behaviour. It stipulates particular offenders’ deterrence, incapacitation, crime elimination, fair judgment and proper rehabilitation of offenders as suitable sentencing objectives (Zunkel 2019). Establishing new sentencing frameworks that imitate post-sentencing effective assessment tools helps policymakers initiate sentences that benefit society and punish offenders. The emerging structure punishes the illegal trait of the culprit and recognizes the absence of tools to pronounce punishment during sentencing. It also argues that probation or home rehabilitation is an efficient podium for most crimes (Jefferson-Bullock 2016).    

Exam 2 Diagnostic

It is suitable to study alternative correctional measures for drug offenders as mandatory minimum sentences have various social consequences. First, the sentencing policy discriminates against the minority groups in society. According to the sentencing commission, in 1991, mandatory minimums were associated with the offenders’ race in which whites were sentenced below the guidelines of mandatory minimum compared to the non-whites. In 2018, 73% of drug culprits were either Hispanic or African Americans (Neely 2020). A different strategy is required as all races are vulnerable to drug abuse, and if not checked, cases of recidivism will continue rising. Secondly, the budget constraint brought about by mandatory minimum sentencing is a matter of concern. American taxpayer incurs $36,299.25 per annum on a single prisoner within the federal prison (Neely 2020). Addressing mandatory minimum sentencing and drug crimes will reduce the heavy financial burden on the civilian American.

Drug trafficking and abuse should be the main issue of focus instead of concentrating on drug offences. Culprits are detained in prisons without considerations of the side effects. This study lays an understanding of mandatory minimum sentencing having numerous effects on the social setup. Society feels safe and protected when offenders are incapacitated, not knowing that the general public is more incapacitated than jailed criminals.


Work Cited

Hoft, Joseph. Incarceration in Florida a Comparative Survey. Diss. Florida Gulf Coast University, 2018.

Jefferson-Bullock, Jalila. “How Much Punishment Is Enough?: Embracing Uncertainty in Modern Sentencing Reform.” Journal of Law and Policy 24.2 (2016): 2.

Neely, Reese. “MANDATORY MINIMUMS: EQUAL BUT UNEQUAL.” Available at SSRN (2020).

Zunkel, Erica. “18 USC Sec. 3553 (a) ’s Undervalued Sentencing Command: Providing a Federal Criminal Defendant with Rehabilitation, Training, and Treatment in the Most Effective Manner.” Notre Dame J. Int’l Comp. L. 9 (2019): v.

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