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This article summarizes the results and implications of a recent study of the cost-effectiveness of mandatory minimum drug sentences. Mandatory minimum sentences are not as cost-effective as spending additional resources on either enforcement without mandatory minimums or on drug treatment for heavy drug users. Long sentences should be reserved for certain types of very high-level drug dealers.

Originally published in: Corrections Management Quarterly, v. 2, no. 1, 1998, pp. 62-73.

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