Reason-Rupe poll finds that more than seven in 10
Americans, 71 percent, favor the elimination of mandatory minimum
sentences for non-violent offenders so that judges can regain the
ability to make sentencing decisions on a case-by-case basis. Less
than a quarter of Americans, 24 percent, oppose the idea.
Public opinion on this issue is consistent with the
recommendation against mandatory minimum sentences issued by the
independent organization Human Rights Watch, which reports that 97 percent
of drug defendants, including first-time and low-level offenders,
are strong-armed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentencing deal
rather than exercise their right to a trial at the risk of
receiving a significantly longer mandatory minimum sentence.
Democrats are slightly more likely than Republicans to favor
eliminating mandatory minimums but only by a margin of six points
(74 percent to 68 percent). Seventy-two percent of independents
It’s also important to keep in mind that most Americans are not
fully aware of the arguments for and against mandatory minimums.
Nevertheless, because Americans’ initial reaction is to oppose
mandatory minimums, the burden of proof lies with those who favor
the status quo.
Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed
1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a
margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates
International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns
may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results,
detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign
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from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/poll-71-percent-of-americans-want-to-el3