The Latest In The Debate Over Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

The Latest In The Debate Over Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Attorney General Eric Holder says harsh punishment for drug crimes is devastating to communities of color. Now, he’s calling for reforms. Diane and her guests look at the debate over mandatory minimum sentencing.

Mandatory minimum sentencing has existed throughout U.S. history, at one time used to punish mostly treason and murder. But in the 1980s, Congress saw mandatory minimums as a way to tackle a different kind of crime: drug offenses. As part of the “war on drugs," there was bipartisan support for tough sentences, rather than rehabilitation. Today, the pendulum might be swinging in the other direction. With a prison population soaring and budgets tightening, lawmakers from both parties are supporting ways to reform these sentences, and Attorney General Eric Holder is weighing in. Diane and her guests discuss the debate over mandatory minimum sentencing.

Guests

William Otis

former federal prosecutor and former special White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush.

Devlin Barrett

reporter covering security and law enforcement for The Wall Street Journal.

Paul Butler

professor at Georgetown Law School.

Mary Price

vice president and general counsel at Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

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