What are Mandatory Minimums?

Post Date: May 30, 2013

A mandatory minimum sentencing law imposes a harsh, binding prison term for those convicted of certain federal and state crimes. These inflexible, “one-size-fits-all” sentencing laws may seem like a quick fix solution for crime but they actually undermine justice by preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the individual and the seriousness of their offense. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, the population of federal and state prisons has soared, resulting in exorbitant costs to taxpayers and diversion of funds from law enforcement. 

Most mandatory minimums apply to drug offenses, but Congress has enacted them for other crimes, including certain gun, pornography, and economic crimes. Click here for lists of select federal mandatory minimums. Many states also have mandatory sentencing laws. Click here see the mandatory minimums in the state you’re interested in.