Key Legislative Issues in Criminal Justice: Mandatory SentencingJanuary 1997
This Research in Action examines mandatory sentencing enhancements, including the widely discussed three-strikes laws enacted in a number of jurisdictions, that are aimed at deterring known and potentially violent offenders and incapacitating convicted criminals through long-term incarceration. Mandatory sentencing has had significant consequences that deserve close attention, among them its impact on crime and the operations of the criminal justice system. In the interviews conducted for this review, State policymakers expressed the need to respond to the public's fear of crime and call for tougher sanctions, but also recognized the need to rein in spiraling costs of corrections. If the costs of government are cut, spending more on prisons means spending less on other public purposes.