Best Bad Idea: Mandatory minimums

What part of “there is no evidence that mandatory minimum sentences prevent crime” do we not understand? This city has underfunded schools, underemployed ex-offenders, and overcrowded prisons. Sure, the City Council gutted the originally proposed bill, adding only a $1,000 fine on first-time offenders instead of a mandatory one-year jail sentence for those who carried illegal guns. However, it’s obvious that Mayor Catherine Pugh, City Council President Jack Young, and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis are pressuring the council to legislate from the wrong direction. At a press conference announcing her support for the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences, Mayor Pugh said, “Gun offenders in Baltimore City . . . think they will not face significant jail time for their offense.” She went on to say she wanted to “limit judicial discretion” during sentencing. One of the few ways our judicial system can work is when a judge can consider the mitigating circumstances of every case before sentencing. This is unimaginative for politicians who claimed to have solutions while running for office, pushing through a poor attempt at legislation that wouldn’t have solved anything.

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