April 2, 2018

Florida Needs Mandatory Minimums for Cocaine Trafficking

According to the 2016 Florida Medical Examiners “Drugs in Deceased Persons” report, cocaine caused more deaths of Floridians in 2015 than any other drug. Cocaine was the third most frequently found in decedents the same year, when 2,882 Americans – nearly as many as were killed on 9/11 – were found dead with cocaine in… Read more »

December 22, 2017

How Mandatory Minimums Almost Killed (The) Santa Claus(e) – Updated for 2017!

Among my favorite parts of the holiday season are the annual rituals. I love finding and decorating the Christmas tree, putting up the lights and decorations on and around the house, and baking eating plainly unhealthy amounts of Christmas treats of all types. I also love Christmas movies. Every Christmas Eve I watch A Christmas Carol (George… Read more »

July 19, 2017

The Three Fallacies Used to Defend Florida’s Mandatory Minimum Drug Laws

Mandatory minimum drug laws don’t work. Everyone who’s studied the issue understands this undeniable truth. And yet, mandatory minimums remain stubbornly popular among many legislators. Criminologist Michael Tonry was right when he wrote that, “The greatest gap between knowledge and policy in American sentencing concerns mandatory penalties.” Mandatory minimum drug laws remain popular among legislators… Read more »

May 5, 2017

The Florida Senate is Right – HB 477 Needs a Safety Valve

Earlier this week, the Florida Senate amended HB 477, a bill that, among other things, establishes mandatory minimum sentences for “trafficking” in fentanyl. The Senate’s amendment established a safety valve that allows downward departure from mandatory sentences for fentanyl trafficking offenses in certain circumstances. Earlier today, the House refused to accept the Senate’s amendment, and kicked… Read more »

April 26, 2017

39 Questions for Proponents of New Mandatory Minimums in Florida

There is a mandatory minimum on the books now for lower-level heroin trafficking, correct?  How long has that mandatory minimum been on the books?  Is the heroin overdose rate higher or lower today than it was in 1999?  There is a mandatory minimum on the books for lower-level cocaine trafficking, correct?  How long has that… Read more »

December 23, 2016

Year-end Review: Sentencing Reform in Congress in 2016 and Beyond

The 114th Congress has ended, and members of both houses of Congress have gone home for the holidays. This means there will be no bills passed or votes taken in Congress until they come back to work on January 3, 2017. That will be the start of the 115th Congress. Sadly, no sentencing or prison… Read more »


All blog posts older than June 1st 2013, are available at our previous blog.