If you can’t do the time don’t do the crime or how about let the punishment fit the crime. These two statements have been around for years. If someone commits a crime they should be punish but to what extent? Should similar crimes be dealt with the same? Such as if a person had a small amount of marijuana for personal use in a car at school, or they had an ounce of marijuana in their vehicle in a school zone. Should the law treat these incidents the same? Or should they treat these cases differently? Some people believe you should be sentence to a mandatory jail term no matter what crime you commit.
They feel this will deter people from committing crimes. Others feel criminals are doing too much time for mostly none violent criminal activity which put a strain on entire communities. This debate has been brewing for years. Are mandatory minimum sentences doing more harm than good? The movement to establish mandatory minimum sentences for drug related offenses began in the early 1950”s and gained momentum in the early 1970s (Carrillo, 2000). At this time the judge had the discretion of giving the defendant a mandatory sentence or a more lenient sentence. In 1986 the law was changed were as the judge lost the power to make a choice in the length of a sentence he or she could impose on an offender.
They had to follow strict sentencing guidelines which some judges was even oppose to. The main reason for the mandatory minimum sentences during the earlier stages in the game was due to the growing drug trade. This was a losing effort by law enforcement to stop the trafficking of drugs into the United States. In the eyes of many this obviously didn’t work. As time went on the drug trade became bigger and better with more sophisticated technics and more potent drugs.