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Mandatory sentences don’t benefit public safety

May 09, 2015
In a letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register, The Sentencing Project's Federal Advocacy Counsel Jeremy Haile refutes U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's recent claims that mandatory drug sentences are necessary to protect communitie

In a letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register, The Sentencing Project’s Federal Advocacy Counsel Jeremy Haile refutes U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s recent claims that mandatory drug sentences are necessary to protect communities.

There is strong evidence to the contrary. Last year, the National Research Council published a report finding that “the evidence is insufficient to justify the conclusion that these harsher punishments yield measurable public safety benefits.” Instead, mandatory minimum sentences often result in long prison terms for people convicted of low-level offenses.

The truth is that mandatory drug penalties, while enacted as a crime-fighting policy, have exacted enormous costs — both fiscal and human — without benefiting public safety. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Grassley has a remarkable opportunity to help restore a smarter balance.

Read the letter in the Des Moines Register.

 

 
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