Measuring the effectiveness of mandatory sentences among drug-related offenders
Applicable Sociological Concepts
One of the sociological concepts that impact drug abuse is culture. Culture refers to the way of life of an individual. This includes how they live, how they dress, how they work among other things. The sociology of culture is the intersection between sociology and culture. There is a huge difference between society and culture and yet not one can exist without the other.
Studies show that drug use and abuse varies with cultural diversity. Different races and ethnicities have a higher propensity for abusing drugs more than others. Mandatory incarceration would affect other members of society than others.
The other concept is cultural identity. This is a theory that suggests that substance abuse is a way of an individual changing their identity. One such cause for this concept is the motivation of an individual trying to adapt to popular culture.
The sociological impact of these concepts on mandatory sentencing on drug related offences include;
Education: mandatory sentencing on every drug related offence will affect education negatively (FAMM, 2005). First, most of the drug offenders in the country today are youths who are in school. Mandatory sentencing will ensure that their education is cut short at least for a while. In some extreme circumstances, those who are sentenced do not go back to school at all.
Taxes: mandatory sentencing for all drug offenders will have a negative impact on taxation. The state will have to create the facilities for housing all these inmates which will translate to higher taxes paid by the taxpayer.
Employers: Mandatory sentencing will result in loses for employers. For the employers that have workers that are involved with drugs will have to hire new employees once the drug users are incarcerated. Failure to do this will mean that the business will suffer.
Line 1 of evidence
First, if mandatory sentencing for all drug offenses was to be implemented judges would not be able to consider all the evidence (Tonry, 1995). This means there would be avenues through which mistakes would be made in the legal process. Possible bias in this issue might be that the author might have a bad experience with wrongful jailing. An alternative explanation is that the with the judge will not have enough time to go through every bit of evidence for the multiple offenders to make the judgment every time.
Line 2 of evidence
The second issue is that the type the drug will determine the sentence. The implication for this is that drug addicts will opt for a particular drug that has a lighter sentence. Possible bias may be the fact that the author might live in an area that has prevalence for one drug. An alternative explanation might be that a specific drug might have more of an impact to the partaker more than others.
Mandatory jail time for every drug offence may not be as effective as other methods like rehabilitation (Washington, 1980). This is because some of the sentences are very severe compared to the effect they have on the individual. The effects on mandatory sentencing on the individual, the society and the government far outweighs it benefits on the three. However, mandatory sentencing can do a lot of good for the fight against drug abuse.
FAMM (2005) Mandatory sentencing was once America’s law-and-order panacea.
Here’s why it’s not working. 11, 12-57.
Tonry, M. (1991). Mandatory Minimum Penalties and the U.S. Sentencing Commission's "Mandatory Guidelines". Federal Sentencing Reporter, 4(3), 129-133. doi:10.2307/20639424
Washington, D. (1980). The facts about "drug abuse" New York: Free Press.