Sami Ghubril

Document Type

Honors Thesis


America’s war on drugs caused a significant increase in federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. These laws were designed to serve as a deterrent to crime, carrying excessively punitive sentences for basic drug offenses, often without the possibility of parole. These laws are problematic because they skew the balance of power in the criminal justice system and treat medical problems as legal ones. This work will examine the history of America’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws, explain their expansion during America’s war on drugs, and outline the impact these laws have on society. This paper will demonstrate that mandatory minimum sentencing laws adversely affect minority groups. It will then propose directions future research may take, such as arguing that mandatory minimums can have an adverse effect on a group larger than just minority groups, which could include all those in poverty.

Publication Date






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