Essay on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Was the implementation of mandatory minimum sentencing useful? No, say clear and loud two magistrates in the report published on 9 April on the site of the Terra Nova think-tank. The question of the effectiveness of these mandatory minimum sentences arises even more acutely that it can be obliterated from the penal code. This repeal is on the menu of the penal reform project, whose review should begin before the summer. Suppression of mandatory minimum sentencing, advocated by the experts of the consensus conference, is one of the 76 proposals of the report devoted to “means to combat prison overcrowding” and was filed in January.

Created by the law of August 10, 2007, strengthening the fight against recidivism, mandatory minimum sentencing should be applied from the first recurrence to punishable offences with at least three years in prison. Since the Loppsi Bill 2 March 14, 2011, it also affects the first time offenders for certain premeditated offences (for example, an armed robbery with violence).

Application of mandatory minimum sentencing assumes the first criminal conviction (and therefore non-educational) to become final (with no recourse or expiry of the period to exercise it), pronounced by the Court of a European Union Member State in a more or less long period following the commission of the first offence. Regarding an offence, for example, the period is five years. Minors over 13 of age do not escape mandatory minimum sentences, but, until the age of 16 years, the rate is halved.

The judge may nevertheless derogate from the application of the mandatory minimum sentencing and impose a sentence below the legal threshold, but the judge must justify his decision by the “circumstances of the offence,” the “personality of the offender” or on the basis of “guaranteed insertion or reinsertion” submitted. In the case of the second legal infraction, the derogation is possible only if the convicted person has “exceptional integration or reintegration guarantees.”

It is to take the heat out the debate that promises to be “inaudible” and prevent the risks of amalgam between prevention of recurrence and severity of the criminal response that the two magistrates have decided to speak, but – duty of reserve forces – anonymously. “It is striking to note that there is no impact assessment or demonstrating the effectiveness of these sentences, contrary to what happens in Anglo-Saxon countries,” notes Andréa Forseti, co-author of the report. The latter draws from experience of authors and various research materials that they have gathered, a state of constructing practice of mandatory minimum sentencing. Not only these sentences have not proven their effectiveness, but they are likely to produce recidivism.

More seriously, the application of the PP goes against the objective of this measure by contributing to the overcrowding of prisons.

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