Sentencing and Mandatory Minimums

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws require judges to administer prison terms of a particular length for people convicted of certain federal and state crimes. At the federal level, most mandatory minimum sentences apply to drug offenses, but Congress has also enacted them for other crimes, including certain gun and economic offenses.

Mandatory minimums undermine our nation’s commitment to justice and fairness by preventing judges from taking into account the individual’s background and the circumstances of his/her offenses in the sentencing determination. These laws disproportionately impact people of color, have caused our prison populations to soar, and have led to overcrowding and exorbitant costs to taxpayers.

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