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Should drug convictions carry mandatory jail sentences The fact that the United States has a drug problem is indisputable The amount of people using and or addicted to illegal substances has increased steadily over the years A 1917 survey showed that almost 11 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds admitted to using illegal drugs in the months preceding the survey Other survey results were even more astonishing The federal government in conjunction with state and local authorities are attempting to combat this terrible problem They have used such techniques as campaigning aimed at youths using radio and television to reduce the drug use at its early stages But despite such well-founded campaigns such as this the federal government is making a large mistake with one of its newer policies to combat drugs This policy is founded upon laws that give stiff mandatory jail sentences for all drug convictions The use of mandatory jail sentences is failing and will fail if continued because it creates an unfair system of punishment overcrowds our prisons fails to succeed where treatment has and levies incredible costs that have to be absorbed by taxpayers The use of mandatory jail sentences for drug convictions creates a readily seen loophole within the justice system Normally the judge is given the final say in sentencing but this changes because of the mandatory jail sentences Suddenly the power of sentencing is not in the judges hands as it should be but rather in the hands of the prosecutor This is because the judge is required to meet out certain sentences for these charges and it is the prosecutors who determine whether to bring charges that carry a mandatory minimum sentence What occurs is that often prosecutors trade higher-level drug dealers easier sentences in return for information Jonathan Caulkins author of a Rand Corporation was quoted The principal problem with current mandatory minimums is that they arent targeted sufficiently toward the high-level dealers This is
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