Research Paper: Mandatory Sentencing Public Policy, Crime

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[. . .] Afterwards, the constructing of the justice system aimed at criminalizing the "equal" African-American; additionally, the system also ensured that the social position of African-Americans was not equal to those of their white counterparts. From history, dating back to the era of Nixon, the president of America, this was done through the establishment of the "Drug War" as a strategy to gain support from whites in the south by advocating for policies in opposing civil rights and racial equality related initiatives. The system also changed via conservative justices on the courts who would endorse reductions to the fourth Amendment protections against many illegal searches, seizures of property and wrongful detentions. From the arguments presented in some studies, I strongly agree that there exist civil liberty issues in relation to the mandatory sentencing and the "War on Drugs."

Judicial Policy Makers

There is inadequate consensus in the criminal justice courts as to the endorsement of the mandatory minimum sentencing and the utilization in the drug war. A case study on the American Supreme Court, it is apparent that it has taken much drug war legislation over the Last four decades. While some of the cases resulted from civil liberties challenges that were the result of techniques used to take into custody suspects or acquire evidence in drug arrests, some result from challenges to the legality of policies and penalties imposed on the usage of drugs. I think the judicial enforcement concerning the prejudice on drug laws and policies such as mandatory minimum sentencing is similar to judges who ignorantly enforce fugitive slave laws. This is because, the judges knew of the unfairness of the laws enforced, but they enforced them at the expense of someone else's responsibility to alter the bad laws.

Judicial Discretion and Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Blakely was one of the people who questioned the validity of the mandatory minimum sentences in relation to the constitution. The case involved a man who faced higher sentencing than initially given for kidnapping. The state law allowed for increase in the penalty if a case met specific conditions such as intentional cruelty. However, Blakely appealed based on violation of the sixth amendment right to have a jury determine beyond reasonable doubts all information significant to his punishment (Hall, 2009). The conclusion from the court was an additional sentence increased due to the judge's determination that the accused acted with deliberate cruelty, which violated the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to trial by the jury. From this kind of ruling I suggest that the design of mandatory sentencing should provide an analysis of the arguments that led to the ruling against Blakely apply. In addition, I feel that since mandatory sentencing was not the initial interpretation of the following ruling on the case, it should have shown restrictions on application than it was, specifically in the form of restrictions when it came to parole (Hall, 2009).

Racial Disparities in Sentencing and Prosecution

The reduction in protection offered by the fourth Amendment, intrusion came in disguised in eliminating the drug war, law enforcement, prosecutors and prosecutors openly engaged in targeting criminalization purposed to apprehend African-Americans. From the several studies emerging on the issue of mandatory sentencing, I can certainly say that the general defense arguments for the increase in penalizations such as mandatory minimum sentencing, the drug war primarily targeted policing, racial profiling, is that actually, the practice led to reduced criminal activities (Starr and Rehavi, 2013). In addition, there is an assumption that because of the presence of Blacks in prison, they must represent a larger criminal population out there, which led to imprisonment of many other blacks and claim it is a strategy to reduce crime (Human Rights Watch, 2008).

A typical example of disparity is apparent when one compares the war on drunk driving in relation to the use crack cocaine when driving. The rate of fatalities resulting from drunk driving exceeds that of deaths related to crack cocaine. However, the punishment accorded to people for drunk driving is a concise jail sentence, a fine and temporary retraction of an individual's capacity to operate a vehicle. In comparison to possession of crack cocaine, whereby, before the enactment of Fair Sentencing Act, possessing of even a little amount carried a 5-year mandatory minimum sentencing, accompanied with many criminal standards having similar or higher punishments (Provine, 2007). Owing to the fact that many of the drunken driving cases primarily associated with the whites, and crack cocaine associated with the blacks, I can strongly suggest that there was a biased reason behind mandatory sentencing to target the black people.

Drug Legislation

The use of anti-drug legislation was a significant tool to marginalize the poor and black American population, together with their politicians and administrators. However, it appeared in a racial and antagonistic manner. Although the drug war emerged as a health concern, when in action, the administrators used it as means of criminal justice reform and redirection. In addition, I feel that the drug war was a strategy or a method to woe voters or show them the need to have a strong government to protect the public from the perceived "criminal minorities," mainly who were the black Americans, who supposedly victimized the white American citizens.

A study on the rate of criminal offending and drug usage among the whole population suggests that the black American population risked arrest 10 times more on drug charges compared to their white counterparts. The study also suggests that the greatest disparities were apparent in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania. The black Americans comprised of 14% of the population, representing 33% of all the arrests and 53% of drug related crimes incarcerated in 2003. Therefore, a closer evaluation of the results, I can strongly assert that the drug war is a synonymous to a race war, or a new form of black codes (black codes- post reconstruction law purposed at making the black Americans a second-class citizen standard within the American society).

In addition, it is evident that the mandatory minimum sentencing has worked as something between a sophisticated restraint, and an apparent attack against the black population of America. The drug war managed to create an unspoken racial state system within the society similar to the racial hierarchy presented by Jim Crow. For instance, in the year 2001, the number of black Americans in Illinois State was 20,000 compared to those enrolled to public universities. In addition, the rate of blacks in prison for drug crimes alone was high compared to those enrolled to public universities. It is apparent that the drug legislation targeted drugs used by the African-American population, as well as restrictions on civil liberties and extreme law enforcers who targeted the blacks in the metropolises around the nation (Human Rights Watch, 2008).

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Mandatory minimum sentencing in relation to drug offenses came by way of two different legislative actions. The sentencing Reform Act, which was part of the comprehensive Crime Control Act aimed at forcing a consistency in sentencing for criminal crimes in the national level. It was among the initial attempts to mandate corrective principles for judges and juries. Additionally, the Act led to the creation of the Federal Sentencing Commission, a branch of the federal government, accountable for creating a consistency in criminal sentencing. The same Act also brought to an end the federal paroling of inmates (Petersilia and Greenwood, 1978). Therefore, the liberal and conservative politicians advocated the move from a rehabilitative model to a punitive stance because it worked well in retaining the public's support.

A study conducted by the Rand Corporation on the impact of Drug War and Mandatory sentencing commented that opting for rehabilitative approach was effective in the reducing of recidivism, and drug war substantially. However, the approach would substantially tax effective when it came to taxpayers than focusing on instutionalization. The study also revealed that conventional and policing is cost efficient compared to mandatory minimum sentencing when assessing the costs incurred during appeals, imprisonment and processing. Additionally, it is apparent from the study that mandatory minimums do have a significantly positive effect compared to conventional enforcement on dealers and users (Baldus, Pulaski and Woodworth, 2009). In addition, the treatment and rehabilitation precautions other than longer punitive sentences were equally effective in reducing recidivism because they did not require large finances reducing the burden on taxpayers.

Racialization of Drug Enforcement

While this policy known as the "War on Drugs" suggested that its primary aim was to curb illegal drug dealings, the politics behind it have made it apparent that its main intention was to incriminate the African-American population. Although the policy failed drastically in its aim of curbing drug usage, the real political objectives of initiating a systematic destabilization and disenfranchisement among the African-American population, the success was overwhelming. It is apparent that the war on drugs had a substantial impact on the African-American disguised… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Mandatory Sentencing Public Policy, Crime.  (2013, September 29).  Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mandatory-sentencing-public-policy/4734689

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"Mandatory Sentencing Public Policy, Crime."  Essaytown.com.  September 29, 2013.  Accessed April 26, 2019.
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