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In recent years drug policy has been dramatically impacted by an upsurge in popularity for Mandatory Minimum policies especially in terms of sentencing for drug offenses This policy has become a hotly debated topic with its implications reaching beyond those that affect just the drug dealers and users As a result a new debate has begun specifically whether mandatory minimum sentences have a racial or ethnic bias I plan to focus my paper on whether it can be determined that mandatory minimum sentences have a racial or ethnic bias in terms of their use as a social policy specifically with attention to cocainecrack offenses Are disproportionate amounts of African-Americans affected by this kind of legislation Before I can discuss what this debate is it is important to understand what mandatory minimums are and whom they affect Mandatory minimum legislation comes in response to the American publics desire to crack down on those who sell and use drugs Their popularity has been codified by biased media reports showing an unfair stereotyped profile of drug users in American usually a picture of a poor underprivileged dangerous and violent black inner-city dweller In the 1980s the Congress and many state legislators decided that the sentencing system was out of date and in need of serious change The system lacked the validity needed to stimulate public confidence and operate as a serious deterrent to commit crimes The Sentencing Reform Act SRA of 1984 created a Sentencing Commission to determine guidelines for sentencing The purposes of sentencing as they determined were To reflect the seriousness of the offense to promote respect for the law and to provide just punishment To afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct To protect the public from further crimes of the defendant To provide the defendant with educational or vocational training medical care or other correctional treatment Since these guidelines were issued in 1984 Congress and state
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