Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Mandatory minimum sentencing has been part of the government’s war on drugs, but critics say it’s not working. A panel joins guest host Susan Page to discuss new efforts to give judges more discretion.

About 2.3 million Americans are currently behind bars, an increase of more than 300 percent since 1980. Many of those men and women are there on drug charges. The first major law in “the war against drugs” passed by Congress in 1986 established steep mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, including possession of marijuana. Some argue the harsh punishment has reduced crime. But others contend the policy has imprisoned too many non-violent offenders for too long and at too high a price. We look at efforts to give judges more leeway and find better alternatives to treat drug problems

Guests

Julie Stewart

president, Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

Scott Burns

executive director, National District Attorneys Association.

Adam Gelb

director, Public Safety Performance Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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