Attempts to Maximize on Minimum Prison Time Falls Short

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Attorney general Eric Holder voiced his approval for changes concerning drug-related sentences. If approved, the Sentencing Commission proposal would lower the base offense of punishment to acts associated with drugs of varying quantities, while leaving harsher minimum sentences for severe drug offenses. While one of the proposal’s purposes is to decrease prison spending, addressing life after prison can further decrease spending.

Reducing prison time would definitely decrease prison-spending, as the government overspends on crime with non-comparable results. Time is essential to ensure that criminals can reflect on their actions and be kept away from society when they are deemed a threat. However, a thin line is drawn between protecting society and helping the criminal, making prison times difficult to determine. A lower minimum sentence for minor drug offenses will get criminals back to society sooner, but does not ensure change for the better.

Prison time reduction is needed, but programs to aid ex-criminals to reenter the workforce are also necessary. Ex-prisoners returning to the working field are considered potential threats. Being barred from necessities such as housing does not encourage ex-convicts to find work. Also, many employers are not eager to hire those who have a history of committing crimes, pushing them back to drug trafficking or drug abuse. Government money should not be spent pushing convicts to commit crimes again but encourage people at risk to become functional members of society.

A minimum prison time is crucial when dealing with those who do not abide the law. Though judges may try to make sentences proportional to the crime, there is no exact way to standardize prison times for minor drug offenses. However, what matters most is not the length of time a person spends in prison, but the quality of the time they spend reflecting.