50%(2)1 out of 2 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 1 - 4 out of 9 pages.
Running head: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION: MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCING Human Rights Violation: Mandatory SentencingMichael NolanCurry College 1
MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCING IN THE UNITED STATESMandatory Minimum Sentencing in the United StatesMandatory minimum sentencing laws involve obligatory prison terms for convicted individuals in federal and state crimes for a particular length of time. Mandatory minimum sentences are where people must spend a certain number of years and or months in jail for a crime, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the crime itself. It’s based on the crime as a whole rather than the individual crime and its uniqueness. Mandatory minimum sentencing is a criminal justice policy that was set in place during the 1980s and 1990s. During the time period of the 1980s and 1990s, a drug epidemic was sweeping the nation. The drug crisis during the 1980s became an epidemic that nobody saw coming. The leniency that the 1970s saw relating to drugs correlated with the amount of drug related deaths the 1980s saw (Goode and Ben-Yehuda, pg.2). In order to combat the drug dealers and possibly lower the use of drugs, mandatory minimum sentencing was implemented. Some however, have labeled the creation of mandatory minimum sentencing as a failure as it is a violation of ones human rights. Many mandatory minimum case decisions are ludicrous in the sense that the punishment simply does not fit the crime. Times have definitely changed and mandatory minimum sentencing laws have become obsolete in our nation more so because of their violation of ones human rights. Since the terms of mandatory minimum sentencing are written so broadly, individuals who commit minor crimes can be negatively affected. Minor crimes include those who are not a threat to society and should get shorter sentencing than those of harsher crimes like murder and rape (Vincent and Hofer, 1994, pg. 3). “There is substantial evidence that the mandatory minimums result every year in the lengthy incarceration of thousands of low-level offenders who could be effectively 2
MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCING IN THE UNITED STATESsentenced to shorter periods” (Vincent and Hofer, 1994, pg.1) The judge should have the opportunity to look at the crime and make a decision based on its complexity and individuality of the case and what the sentence should be rather than have to adhere to these mandatory minimum sentences. Although, some can argue that the policy has cut down on crimes, we cannot forget about all the minor crimes that have been affected and lives have been ruined due to the unjust policy. One case that can be used as an example of what was stated above is the case of aFloridian man named Orville Lee Wollard III. This case is the embodiment of the punishment not fitting the crime. Before understanding the “crime” that Wollard committed we must first understand the 10-20-Life bill that was signed by, at the time, governor Jeb Bush. The 10-20-Life bill is a mandatory minimum sentencing law that was implemented in the state of Florida in the year 1999. “Under the 10-20-Life bill, a person