Most Americans Agree: Yes, we should move away from mandatory drug sentences

Post Date: April 2, 2014

(Washington Post) — This country is shifting away from a steadfast focus on mandatory sentences for drug-related crimes. And the American public largely agrees that this is a good thing, with the numbers suggesting that public opinion is going to keep moving in this direction in the future.

Here’s a new chart from the Pew Research Center illustrating just how much has changed since the beginning of the new millennium:

pew mandatory sentencing april 2
This chart comes from a Pew report released Wednesday that found that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) think drug policy should focus on treatment rather than prosecuting drug users (with just 26 percent picking this option).

Overall, more people now believe that a move away from mandatory drug sentences is a good thing, with 63 people feeling that way in 2014 (versus 46 percent in 2001). Read more