As part of an effort to remedy the District’s alarming incarceration rate, DC Justice Lab recommends repealing all mandatory minimum statutes in Washington, D.C. Abolishing mandatory minimums is supported by the majority of voters. According to the ACLU, 72% of Americans would be more likely to vote for an elected official who supports eliminating mandatory minimum laws.
While lower maximum sentences, reduced sentencing enhancements, second look legislation, and expanded diversion opportunities are all important elements of decarceration, DC Justice Lab further recommends abolishing all sentencing minimums in the D.C. Code. (
Mandatory minimum laws are statutes that require judges to sentence a person to a predetermined minimum period of incarceration for a specific crime.
There are statutes that require that a minimum sentence be imposed and served, without suspension.
Since Congress passed mandatory minimum statutes in the 1980s, the U.S. prison population has grown from 24,000 prisoners to over 218,000 prisoners.