Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
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
president, Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
executive director, National District Attorneys Association.
director, Public Safety Performance Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts.