Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences
Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayers' Money?
Laws requiring minimum sentences for certain crimes have become increasingly popular, and the most frequently applied of these mandatory minimums are those pertaining to drug offenders. Proponents and opponents of mandatory minimums generally argue over issues of punishment, deterrence, justice, and fairness. The authors of the current study examine mandatory minimum drug sentences from the viewpoint of cost-effectiveness at achieving such national drug control objectives as reducing cocaine consumption and cocaine-related crime. They conduct their analysis with the help of mathematical models estimating the response of cocaine supply and demand to changes in levels of enforcement and treatment. The authors find that a million dollars spent extending sentences to mandatory minimum lengths would reduce cocaine consumption less than would a million dollars spent on the pre-mandatory-minimum mix of arrests, prosecution, and sentencing. Neither would reduce cocaine consumption or cocaine-related crime as much as spending a million dollars treating heavy users. These conclusions are robust to changes in various assumptions underlying the analysis.
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- Copyright: RAND Corporation
- Availability: Available
- Print Format: Paperback
- Paperback Pages: 224
- List Price: $40.00
- Paperback Price: $32.00
- Paperback ISBN/EAN: 0-8330-2453-1
- Document Number: MR-827-DPRC
- Year: 1997
- Series: Monograph Reports
The Laws and the Surrounding Debate
Cost-Effectiveness at Reducing Cocaine Consumption and Expenditures
Other Measures of Cost-Effectiveness
Longer Sentences for All Drug Dealers: Details of the Dynamic Analysis
Mandatory Minimums for Federally Prosecuted Drug Dealers: Details of the Static Analysis
Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws for Drug Offenses
Derivation of Parameter Values
Derivation of Equations in Table 7.1
Estimating the Relationship Between Drug Markets and Crime
This research was supported by a gift from Richard B. Wolf of Richland Mills and by funding from The Ford Foundation. This study was carried out within RAND's Drug Policy Research Center.
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