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Harsh, inflexible sentences may have political appeal, but they do not deter crime or make communities safer. At great cost to taxpayers, mandatory minimum sentencing laws force judges to hand down unnecessarily long prison terms, without regard for the specific offense or offender. Such sentencing laws disproportionately affect minorities and have contributed greatly to the explosive increase in the U.S. prison population during the past three decades.

With growing bipartisan consensus that sentencing laws have gone too far, NACDL supports measures to repeal these policies.

Resources on sentencing and possible reform:

Excessive Sentencing: NACDL's Proportionality Litigation Project

NACDL is pleased to offer, as a resource for its members and as a service to the public, a collection of resources that summarize for each U.S. state the key doctrines and leading court rulings setting forth constitutional and statutory limits on lengthy imprisonment terms and other extreme (non-capital) sentences.


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