Sentencing and Mandatory Minimums
Empirical research shows that locking people up for lengthy periods of time does not reduce crime and can, in fact, increase crime. BDS supports abolishing all mandatory minimum sentencing laws that require a judge to hand down a minimum, predetermined sentence for any conviction. This includes eliminating enhanced minimum sentences for individuals with prior felony convictions. Ending mandatory minimum sentences would provide judges with the discretion to evaluate every case and every person convicted of a crime individually, help address the racial inequities in sentencing, and prevent the “trial penalty” from discouraging people accused of a crime from exercising their Sixth Amendment right to trial. Additionally, judges should have to document why they are choosing to implement a specific sentence.
BDS also supports increasing the amount of time allowance a person can earn while serving a jail or prison sentence, and reducing the maximum sentences allowed for all crimes including eliminating life sentences.