The goal of this paper is to discuss the sentencing policies on drug offences. In this case, one should speak about the crimes related to the use, possession, and transportation of prohibited substances. In turn, it is important to explain how the courts should approach such cases. Much attention should be paid to the factors that legal professionals should take into account before passing a verdict. Currently, about 16 percent of the prison population of the United States is represented by people who were convicted of such crimes (Stevens 101).
For a long time, American policymakers have advocated stringent anti-drug laws (Mazza 139). In particular, there were the so-called minimum sentence requirements. In turn, this approach led to mass incarceration and the growth of prison population in the United States (Drucker 1101). In my opinion, the study of this topic can have profound implications for millions of people who are dependent on drugs. In many cases, they are deprived of the opportunity to restore their status in the community. The primary objective of policy-makers is to reduce the stigmatization of these individuals. So, my interest in this topic can be explained by the importance of this problem and its scale.
Overall, I would like to discuss the following issues:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of stringent anti-drug policies?
- What kind of factors should be considered by legal professionals prior to sentencing a drug offender?
This study will be based on the review of peer-reviewed articles, governmental reports, and books that can throw light on the research questions. These works will describe the sentencing strategies that should be applied by judges who examine a drug case. I need to read and evaluate different sources that identify the advantages and disadvantages of various anti-drug policies. In this case, the impartial selection of articles should be the top priority. Some scholars support the idea of stringent anti-drug strategies, even despite mass incarceration rates. They justify this approach by focusing on the cases when the actions of a person can pose a threat to the lives or health of other people (Advocate 51; Loveless 444).
For instance, they concentrate on violent crimes committed by people dependent on drugs. At the same time, some researchers note that this policy can lead to the stigmatization of many individuals, even those, who want to overcome their addiction (Mazza 139). One of their arguments is that incarceration can only intensify the anti-social behaviors of offenders (Smith and Gowland 392). Therefore, it is critical to examine conflicting views on this problem. Admittedly, I am an opponent of the stringent anti-drug policies, especially the use of minimum sentence policies. Nevertheless, I must not disregard the arguments put forward by the advocates of this method.
Implications of research
This discussion of this question is closely related to the debate about the functions of the criminal justice system. As a rule, the work of this institution was aimed at punishing individuals who were convicted of certain offences. Nevertheless, little attention was paid to the mechanisms that could help such people re-integrate into the society. This argument is particularly relevant to those individuals who were convicted of drug offences. Judging from the sources chosen for this proposal, I can argue that the use of strict sentencing strategies will not be approved. This study can highlight the necessity to adopt a more elaborate approach to drug offences.
Advocate, Barakatullah. “Drugs Offences: Conviction And Acquittal, The Views Of A Practitioner.” Pakistan Journal Of Criminology 3.2 (2011): 33-54. Print.
Drucker, Ernst. “Drug Law, Mass Incarceration, And Public Health.” Oregon Law Review 91.4 (2013): 1097-1128. Print.
Loveless, Janet. “When Is A Courier Not A ‘Mule?.” Journal Of Criminal Law 76.6 (2012): 444-455. Print.
Mazza, Carl. “Brenda: An Invisible Victim Of Mandatory Sentencing Laws For Drug Offenses.” Journal Of Social Work Practice In The Addictions 6.4 (2006): 139-142. Print.
Smith, Zena, and Judith Gowland. “Drug Sentencing: What’s The Deal? The New Sentencing Regime For Drug Offences.” Journal Of Criminal Law 76.5 (2012): 389-398. Print.
Stevens, Alex. Drugs, Crime and Public Health: The Political Economy of Drug Policy, New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.