Eliminating mandatory minimums

The view from the community

As the debate on repealing mandatory minimums unfolds, a key question is how do residents in communities most impacted by crime feel about a change in course? To gain this perspective, MassINC’s2014 poll included a sample of 10 communities representing half of all releases from state prisons. Residents in these high-release areas were more likely to favor full judicial discretion in sentencing (51 percent vs 39 percent in all other areas); fewer than one in 10 supported mandatory minimum sentences. 

These findings are consistent with testimony during legislative hearings on the repeal of mandatory minimums. Residents from high crime communities testified that they believed mandatory minimums often captured wayward youth and not the most problematic drug dealers. They wanted a system with flexibility to realize the complexities of their communities and provide them with better justice.

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