Dear Future President,
Every year America spends almost seven billion dollars of taxpayer money just on housing people in federal prisons (Johnson Judge Regrets.) More than half of the 219,000 federal prisoners are in prison for drug offenses (Johnson Judge Regrets.) America obviously has a growing drug problem that is so bad that 129 people die from drug overdose every day in the U.S, but that doesn’t mean that all drug crimes should instantly sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison (Wing America, It’s Time for an Intervention.) Mandatory minimum drug sentences may have worked in the 60’s or 70’s, but they don’t work now and need to be reformed.
The concept of mandatory minimums are great, but when put into action cause many people and families a lot of pain. People who commit small drug crimes like can get sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, which costs billions of dollars on housing inmates in prison which could be going towards education or something much more important. There are a surprisingly large amount of cases where the mandatory minimum drug sentences are overly exaggerated. An instance of this is a case where a man went to purchase marijuana from someone and was caught by the police. He happened to have gun on him at the time and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. A child rapist would have gotten 11 years, a plane hijacker would’ve gotten 11 years, and a terrorist would’ve gotten five years in prison. That means that this man who attempted to buy marijuana is almost as bad as a plane hijacking, terrorist, child rapist to paraphrase John Oliver (Oliver Mandatory Minimums.) That man had two children who were growing up without a mother and were ruined by losing their father for 25 years.
Mandatory minimums ruin peoples lives who made a mistake. A lot of drug addicts get hooked on drugs because they get an injury and doctors prescribe too much pain killers and they get addicted. People are losing decades of their lives for a mistake that they shouldn’t get put in jail for, but a mistake that they should get help for. Mandatory minimums need to be abolished and drug crimes need to start having a reasonable punishment, without having to accept a plea deal.
Johnson, Carrie. "Judge Regrets Harsh Human Toll Of Mandatory Minimum Sentences." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
LastWeekTonight. "Mandatory Minimums: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)." YouTube. YouTube, 26 July 2015. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
Wing, Nick. "America, It's Time For An Intervention: Drug Overdoses Are Killing More People Than Cars, Guns." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.