It seems as if the country is becoming more concerned with the problems associated with mandatory minimum sentencing.
In this past election, Californians voted to amend its "Three Strikes Law" so that non-violent offenders could not be subjected to mandatory twenty-five to life sentences.
And just recently, the New York Times published an article that humanizes mandatory minimum sentencing. The article highlights the lives of four prisoners serving life sentences for non-violent offenses.
The thing that all of these inmates have in common is that when they were sentenced, the judges in their cases did not have one ounce of discretion. Legislators had created the sentencing schemes by which those courts were bound to follow. Without any concern for the dangerousness of the individual or the possibiliy of rehabilitation, these men had their lives taken away from them due to non-violent offenses that could easily be summed up to immaturity and poor decision making.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.