Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The amazing cost of mandatory sentencing

Anyone who thinks mandatory sentencing is a good idea needs to read this Canadian piece, written by one of the architects of mandatory sentencing in the US. That went horribly wrong:
In the U.S., our Congressional Budget Office initially estimated mandatory minimums would increase costs of federal prisons by $55.2 million over the first five years. In fact, over the first five years the added costs totalled $3.216 billion, 58 times our estimates.
Mandatory minimums severely damaged the credibility and reputation of the justice system and put innocent victims behind bars. Perjury increased dramatically, as perpetrators attempting to avoid long mandatory sentences concocted stories to convince prosecutors that other, minor participants were really the ring leaders. Threats and killings of civilian witnesses (“snitches”) became epidemic, and non-drug legal matters were squeezed out of strained court systems.
However the conservative Harper government appears determined to ignore the evidence, and commonsense, in pursuit of his pointless War on Drugs ideology.

Why are such conservatives so stupidly bloody-minded?

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