Every case involves distinct circumstances, motivations and personalities. Accordingly, CCDI opposes mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which curb the independence of the judiciary and undermine the judicial discretion essential to a fair justice system. Colorado incarcerates too many people for too long. Effective sentences should sanction criminal behavior while simultaneously directing those convicted toward more productive and stable lives. Excessively punitive sentences and one-size-fits-all mandatory minimums have failed to accomplish this.
Mandatory minimums have played a major role in boosting the U.S. prison population. These laws often push defendants to plead guilty by default, since the potential downside of contesting their charges is so grave. Prisons should be reserved for only the most serious of offenders that cannot be effectively sanctioned or treated within the community.