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Are mandatory minimum sentences fair?

Mandatory minimum sentences are imposed for some crimes. They require judges to impose at least this sentence, but are they fair? Learn more here.

When a person commits a crime in Connecticut, it may fall into a category that requires minimum mandatory sentencing. Judges must follow these guidelines, which raises concerns for some people who believe it takes away judge's rights to impose fair sentences based on the circumstances of each case. However, there are people who believe such sentences are important and necessary.

Mandatory minimum sentence defined

According to the Office of Legislative Research, a mandatory minimum sentence is a set prison term that must be imposed at the very least when a person is convicted of a certain serious crime. Crimes that carry such sentences can range from a DUI to murder. The judge may impose a sentence that is more than this but cannot impose a lesser sentence. However, offenders do not have to serve the full sentence. They may be able to get released early for various reasons and under certain circumstances.

Arguments against

While there is no clear cut evidence that minimum sentencing does or does not work, there are many opinions on the subject. According to Connect US Fund, some people believe such laws target minority groups because many of the sentences are for drug crimes, which have historically been committed by minorities. In addition, there is concern that it puts too much power in the hands of prosecutors, who can choose to try a person with a crime carrying a minimum sentence just to ensure there is jail time in a case. There is also concern such sentences eliminate a judge's ability to look at the situation and circumstances when imposing a sentence, which could be unfair.

Arguments for

While there are certainly many outspoken opponents of mandatory minimum sentences, there are also those who are completely for them. Some believe that they allow for a greater sense of justice because they eliminate personal feelings or emotions from a case. They may help to ensure that sentences are also just by imposing the same sentence for all offenders, helping to reduce any prejudice.

Mandatory minimum sentences are a part of the system in this state. While not everyone agrees about them, the law is the law. They do not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon because in many cases, they have proven to be quite effective. If you are facing criminal charges that carry such a sentence, it is wise to seek the help and assistance of an attorney, such as Joseph J. Colarusso.