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Mandatory minimum drug sentencing might be here to stay

On Behalf of | May 28, 2021 | Uncategorized |

Mandatory minimum sentencing has come under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years. That’s particularly true when it comes to non-violent drug offenses in Mississippi and around the country. With the election of a Democratic president, there was some hope that sentencing for such crimes would become less punitive. However, the Biden Administration has retained many of Trump’s sentencing guidelines.

The role of the opioid epidemic

Joe Biden has had a long career in politics. Before his recent turn to a social justice platform, he was a proponent of mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. That has carried over into his presidency. At the moment, the Biden Administration seems supportive of extending mandatory minimums set by Trump, as they relate to the opioid crisis.

In 2020, tens of thousands of Americans died of opioid overdoses. From May 2019 to 2020, 81,000 people lost their lives to these drugs. In some ways, it’s easy to see why Biden supports harsh sentences for those involved in the opioid trade. His Justice Department is behind extending these measures.

Political realities

It’s a stark contrast to the progressive positions he and Kamala Harris espoused during the campaign for the presidency. And many of their constituents are lobbying against extending Trump’s sentencing provisions. They represent a broad cross-section from fields including criminal justice, civil rights and public health. These activists do not want to see mass incarceration escalate even further.

Instead of seeing drugs as a problem that can be addressed with punitive measures, many Americans believe that it’s time to treat this as an illness like any other. If you or a loved one has been affected by drug charges, it’s important to get good legal advice. An experienced attorney may help you advocate effectively for diversion or other measures.