Mandatory minimum sentencing: overview and background
The US Sentencing Commission defines mandatory minimum sentencing provisions as "statutory provisions requiring the imposition of at least a specified minimum sentence when criteria specified in the relevant statute have been met". Although Federal mandatory minimum penalties have been in effect since 1790, and there are approximately 100 such provisions in 60 separate criminal statutes, the greatest increase in Federal use of these penalties occurs in relatively few provisions, most of which were enacted after 1984. The latter are concerned with the manufacture, distribution or possession of controlled substances, and with the possession of a firearm during drug-related or violent crime. This book documents the growth in the use of mandatory minimum sentencing at the federal level, and presents data regarding the impact of this trend on the criminal justice system as well as providing a pro/con analysis of such sentences.
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