The other effect of mandatory minimum sentencing is that it has a great influence on bringing an end to the system of parole decisions. The mandatory minimum sentencing does so by requiring offenders to serve not less than eighty five percent of their imprisonment term. The impact of these laws was very different from the classical media coverage, horrific crime, or lawmaker’s embrace, background of several states laws governing mandatory minimum sentencing.
Advocates of federal government started a movement which was basically modeled on the sentencing Act of 1984 that re-modified the parole system and instituted the guidelines of federal sentencing by inserting a requirement of eighty five percent truth while sentencing offenders. As a result of mandatory minimum sentencing, some states such as New Jersey, judges and prosecutors usually agree to sentence the defendants found guilty at terms of lower base imprisonment instead of applying the typical prior passage of the laws.
However, when the requirement of eighty five percent was computed, the final sentences served by offenders were much longer than the ones served prior to the implementation of this particular requirement. Therefore, in aggregate, the overall effect of the law was basically to increase the severity of sentencing to a greater extent that most of the supporters of mandatory minimum sentencing had initially anticipated and expected (Brinkley, 2003).
Majority of the proponents of mandatory minimum sentencing claim that these laws have greatly achieved incapacitation and deterrence with increased certainty as opposed to sentencing defendants under other judicial structures. Therefore one of the greatest effects of mandatory minimum sentencing is deterring offenders from committing such crimes as use of guns and drugs use and possession, which attract mandatory minimum sentencing.
These laws have significantly discouraged offenders who are likely to commit certain offences. By the very fact that the knowledge of these sentences is in the public domain, most offenders shy from committing them. Mandatory minimum sentencing has been designed in such a way that it not only reduces but also eliminates any judicial discretion in selecting among several options of punishments.
Before mandatory minimum sentencing was introduced in the country, the judges and prosecutors were believed to operate under the assumption of increased leniency and the incarcerated offenders were never deterred from committing crimes since could be imprisoned for only a short period of time which was not enough to prevent any persistent criminality behaviors among offenders (Samaha, 2005).
Most of the crimes that attract mandatory minimum sentencing in the United States are primarily committed by the African Americans and women. Most of the women serving various sentences in the country’s correctional facilities were charged with drug related crimes. Again, majority of the African American serving various sentences have been charged with either use of guns or drug related crimes. Therefore, to some extent mandatory minimum sentencing had the effect of propagating racial and gender discrimination in the country.
If this form of sentencing had targeted other forms of crime such as white collar crimes, the American prisons would not the largely housing women and African Americans. These sentences can therefore be said to have had the effect of increasing racial and gender injustice (Messner & Rosenfeld, 2001). Conclusion Laws governing mandatory minimum sentencing have significantly affected the manner in which justice system components operate, which were compelled to adopt their harsher aspects.
But this means that the laws of mandatory minimum sentencing have not achieved the total incarcerative effect which was desired by their original drafters. A significant population of offenders, who are entitled to mandatory sentences, end up not receiving them, but generally, these offenders are perhaps punished in a more severe manner than they would under mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentencing has greatly affected the rates of crimes committed in the country.
Fewer people are sentenced for crimes attracting mandatory minimum sentences, because most defendants are usually reluctant to plead guilty to such charges and at the same time fewer offenders are willing to commit crimes classified under mandatory crimes. Mandatory sentencing has also greatly affected the role of judges and prosecutors within the judicial system of the country. While the role of the prosecutors have been greatly increased that of the judges have been significantly curtailed. Reference: Brinkley, L. V. (2003):
Mandatory minimum sentencing: overview and background, ISBN 1590337301, Novinka. Goldberg, R. (2009): Drugs across the Spectrum, ISBN 0495557935, Cengage Learning. Kelso, D. , Altam Associates, Alaska. State Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Anchorage (Alaska), Prosecutor’s Office (1984): The effects of increasing the mandatory minimum jail time on recidivism of DWI offenders: a three-year follow-up comparison of recidivism of DWI offenders sentenced before and after an increase in the mandatory minimum jail sentence, The Associates.
Mackenzie, G. (2005): How judges sentence, ISBN 1862875359, Federation Press. Messner, S. F. & Rosenfeld, R. (2001): Crime and the American dream, ISBN 0534562779, Wadsworth/Thomson Learning Samaha, J. (2005): Criminal justice, ISBN 0534645577, Cengage Learning. Worrall, J. L. (2006): Crime control in America: an assessment of the evidence, ISBN 0205418791, Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.