Against Mandatory Sentencing Debate

Topics: Crime, Mandatory sentencing, Judicial discretion Pages: 3 (970 words) Published: March 8, 2011
A mandatory sentence is one where judicial discretion is limited by law; those convicted of certain crimes must be punished with at least a minimum number of years in prison. The most famous example of mandatory sentencing is the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy adopted first in California in 1994, and now more widespread in the USA. "Three strikes" laws require life imprisonment for a third criminal conviction, but other forms of mandatory sentencing are now being discussed and implemented in various countries. The British Home Secretary Michael Howard implemented a three strike policy in Britain in the mid 1990s, implementing a mandatory minimum three year sentence for a third conviction of burglary. Australia’s Northern Territory in 1997 introduced mandatory sentences of one month to one year for the third offence regarding property and theft. In the USA possession of more than a small amount of a drug is punished by a mandatory harsh sentence. Mandatory life imprisonment has also been proposed in the US Congress for a second sexual offence against children. The British government has proposed a mandatory five year minimum prison sentence for anyone convicted of carrying a firearm illegally. In addition to these mandatory prison terms, some countries employ a system of ‘mandatory restorative justice’, whereby the criminal has to apologize to the victim, rather than one of imprisonment.( Jacqueline Rose Claire College The reason why I am against mandatory sentencing is because studies show that the greatest deterrent effects come from an increased fear of being caught and the length of sentence is insignificant to criminals who believe they can act with impunity. We should focus instead upon increasing the size and effectiveness of the police force as well as other deterrent measures such as closed circuit television cameras, better street lightning, and alarm systems.

According to the website about 6 in 10 Americans oppose...
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