Law essays

free essayFor the last several years, a debate on the use and harm of mandatory minimum sentences has been raised to find an appropriate solution to the issue of current American criminal justice and prison systems. The approach of using mandatory minimum sentences is ineffective because it does not follow the aim of incarceration – to provide the adequate punishment. On the contrary, it increases the rate of repeat crimes. Initially, incarceration is a kind of punishment purposed to demonstrate to the offender that it is the price for the misconduct and that to leave the place of incarceration, one should rethink his/her behavior. However, the state makes people stay in prison for a long time, ignoring the specifics of misconduct and the appropriateness of incarceration as punishment for it. For example, mandatory minimum sentences are given even for little offences to individuals without criminal history. Thus, “In 2012, the U.S. Sentencing Commission… found that 53 percent of federal offenders are classified under Category I, which means they have little or no criminal history” (Pye, 2015). Drug use and mandatory minimum sentences prove that this approach creates disproportionality between the scope of crime, its consequences, and punishment since “in theory, mandatory minimum sentences enable the government to “move up the chain” of large drug operations” (Bernick & Larkin, 2014). The low-level criminals are suggested to report about high-level criminals, and it is worth emphasizing the ‘in theory’ part. However, in fact, low-level criminals are punished severely, while serious criminals that create criminal schemes are not punished. Slifer (2014) claims that Bureau of Justice Statistics confirms high recidivism level among ex-prisoners, as 68% of 405,000 released in 2005 were arrested again within three years, while around 77% were arrested within five years. According to Johnson (2011), the statistics over 2007 demonstrates the similar state of prison system: 15 states of 33 reported that recidivism rate increased around 30% by 2007. It proves that incarceration is ineffective and even dangerous, as many of the once-convinced criminals become engaged into different public offenses and crimes.

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The mandatory minimum sentences create a number of social and, in turn, economic problems due to further unemployment, marginalization, and poverty faced by the criminals and their families. Incarceration is a verdict for socially insecure individuals that lack education, medical support, and a well-paid job. After they finish serving sentences, they are not provided even with the low-paid job they had before. The families of incarcerated individuals suffer due to the lack of financial support, and children do not see their parents. Inside the prison, there exists a subculture that determines criminals’ thinking, behavior, and conduct. After serving their sentence, criminals have difficulties with getting rid of skills and strategies they had in prison. As a result, the members of prison culture cannot adapt to the life outside prison walls, and they become marginalized. Unemployment and marginalization lead to poverty that cannot be managed. Thus, mandatory minimum sentences lead to the sufficient loss of human resources, which leads to the serious economic and social harm to society.

Mandatory minimum sentences lead to prisons’ overcrowding, which requires building new prisons that are managed on the expanse of taxpayers. Thus, this is the main issue regarding mandatory minimum sentences debate – society seek for the way to save the money of taxpayers. According to the statistics, around $80 billion a year is spent to maintain inmate population, and this amount has nearly doubled for the last years even though the rate of violent crimes declined at 47% (Harris, 2016). The USA has the more prisons and inmates than any other country, which makes the amount of taxpayers’ money spent on supporting the prison complex enormous. It is obvious that there is a variety of crucial social and economic problems in American society that require this money, which is why spending money on ineffective prison system is a waste of time and sources.

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Mandatory minimum does not solve the issue of crime, but it maintains the existing social order that leads to the rise of crime rates. For instance, the individuals convicted of drug storing and consumption are put into jail instead of being provided with medical help. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry shared his experience of prison policies management that resulted in the decline of repeat crimes, absence of excessive expanses, and shutting down of three prisons in Texas in 1968. He said that he had headed treatment programs for individuals who would not receive needed medical assistance in prison (Pye, 2015). His administration focused on strong parole and prohibition programs (Pye, 2015). The issue of drugs offences and incarceration demonstrates that the criminal justice system is not aimed at promoting justice: instead, it supports particular political and economic interests as well as high crime rate.
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In conclusion, debaters on mandatory minimum sentences effectiveness agree that this policy is ineffective and it must be replaced by completely different approach. This policy leads to great expanses, promotes unemployment, poverty, marginalization, and other negative social phenomena that harm American society. Mandatory minimum sentencing is a harmful way of control and regulation, as it does not provide appropriate solution but maintains crimes on high level. The policy that will be directed at justice instead of punishment is needed to cover current social problems.

Critical Analysis – The Failure of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

For the last several years, a debate on the use and harm of mandatory minimum sentences has been raised to find an appropriate solution to the issue of current American criminal justice and prison systems. The approach of using mandatory minimum sentences is ineffective because it does not follow the aim of incarceration – to […]

The Current Standards for Competency and Insanity in the Legal System

In the matter of criminal justice, defendants’ competence and insanity are put into consideration to ensure a fair trial. The first is the ability of an individual to understand the nature of a criminal charge facing him or her, while the second determines whether the one can be held accountable for a crime, which he/she […]

Company Law Essay

Company law is one of the most important laws in terms of the economy of any nation. This is because it determines what people perform certain duties in the corporate organisations. It also determines the rights of the stakeholders, whose stakes are affected by the people in power. This essay is based on the idea […]

Business and Corporate Law

The business and corporate law undergo a variety of changes from time to time. However, it is essential to note that the laws regarding the issuance of services and goods are strictly applicable. This arises from the fact that both parties are liable to each other in case of a loss or injury. For instance, […]

Air Law

This essay describes and analyzes Colgan Air Flight 3407, 2009 accident and its consequences for the Colgan Air Company and other airlines in the USA. The information collected provides a comprehensive vision on the catastrophe and helps to perform an accurate evaluation of the newly developed regulations and requirements to air industry enterprises and pilots. […]

Environmental Law in Australia

Natural resources are limited, and without controlled use and effective management, they will become depleted very fast. In today’s world, pollution and destruction of natural resources has gained global attention. It is worth to note that pollution of the environment is not constrained within geographical borders; instead, its effects spread across countries and continents. As […]

The International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice informally referred as the “world court” is the main judicial tribunal of the United Nations and is majorly responsible for resolution of public international law disputes. The United Nations established the Court in 1945, replacing the Permanent Court of International Justice, which was operating in Netherlands within the Hague. However, […]

Critical Legal Studies

The term critical legal studies, or CLS, refers to a movement in the legal context, which was established in the early 1970’s. The movement was established with the aim of changing the society based on human personality, hidden interests and class domination legal system. It was also established in order to subvert the traditional perceptions […]

Racial Profiling

Racial profiling can be defined as considering a person’s race during a criminal investigation. This is an act practiced by some law enforcers where they target persons for disbelief of a crime built on individual’s ethnicity, race nationality or origin (Burrows, 2011). Criminal profiling as performed by corps is the confidence on a collection of […]

Jail and Prison

The definitions “jail” and “prison” are often used interchangeably on a common level. However, they are not the same. Jails and Prisons are both the law institutions and serve in the legal system. They are obviously having a number of similarities, but the entities are rather different in purpose. Hall (n.d.) states that “They both […]


Summary Consideration is an inducing cause and is used in exchange of value. Traditionally, the doctrine of consideration was used as a promise without any agreement to support it (Melvin, 1994). The instability of the courts to have a standard definition of consideration has led to greater criticisms of the doctrine. The doctrine of consideration […]