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NCJ Number: 150318 Find in a Library
Title: Consequences of Mandatory Minimum Prison Terms: A Summary of Recent Findings
Author(s): B S Vincent; P J Hofer
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 38
Sponsoring Agency: Federal Judicial Ctr
Washington, DC 20002
Sale Source: Federal Judicial Ctr
Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, DC 20002
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In recent years, evidence has accumulated to indicate that Federal mandatory minimum sentencing statutes have not been effective; this report compiles research and U.S. district court cases to contrast the efficacy of mandatory minimum statutes versus sentencing guidelines.
Abstract: Critics of mandatory sentences contend that because the statutes are written broadly, many minor offenders are affected who pose no danger to society and who can be adequately punished with shorter sentences. The greatest effect of mandatory sentences is through their incorporation into sentencing guidelines, although this effect is indirect, and distinguishing effects of mandatory minimums from those of sentencing guidelines is highly problematic. The authors note that mandatory sentences are not applied uniformly, they transfer discretion from neutral judges to adversarial prosecutors, they have a disparate impact on nonwhite offenders, they create anomalies in sentencing law, and they hamper sentencing reform. The use of sentencing guidelines is recommended over mandatory sentences in order to consider the salient offense and offender characteristics. Costs of mandatory sentences are examined in terms of prison space and construction, and the achievement of sentencing goals through mandatory sentences is considered. A statistical appendix contains a profile of offenders convicted under mandatory minimum sentencing statutes in fiscal year 1992. 81 footnotes, 4 tables, and 7 figures
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Corrections; Criminology; Mandatory Sentencing; Offender statistics; Sentencing guidelines; Sentencing statistics
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