A new survey found that that more than three-quarters of Americans favor abolishing mandatory minimum prison terms for nonviolent offenders, a big jump in support since the last time the question was asked, reports Reason. Commissioned by Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) and conducted last week by Public Opinion Strategies, the poll asked 800 registered voters, “Would you favor or oppose eliminating mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent offenders so that judges have the ability to make sentencing decisions on a case?by?case basis?”
Seventy-seven percent of respondents agreed, compared with 59 percent in 2008. More generally, 79 percent backed the idea that “the federal government is spending too much money on locking up nonviolent offenders and should shift that funding to other pressing public safety priorities like local law enforcement, victims services, and stricter probation and parole.” Reform on mandatory minimums got support from 86 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans. FAMM President Julie Stewart said, “What these results tell me is that Congress shouldn’t tinker around the edges.” Bills to reduce mandatory minimums are pending in both the Senate and House.