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Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.
Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The federal prison population has increased more than 750 percent over the past 35 years. Moreover, Hispanic (38.3 percent) and African-American (31.5 percent) defendants are disproportionately convicted of offenses that carry a federal mandatory minimum penalty (compared to 27.4 overall).
While serving time in prison, people lose income and work skills and often lack opportunities to participate in rehabilitative programs. This makes it harder to find a job after leaving prison. Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to fall into poverty, which often results in lower academic achievement and higher risk of depression, withdrawal, and behavioral issues.
Use the links below to download our complete analysis for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 (S. 1917).
Hispanic and African-American defendants are disproportionately convicted of offenses that carry a mandatory minimum penalty.
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King
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