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Most Americans Want Mandatory Minimums Eliminated
Daniel Cox, Joanna Piacenza,

President Obama and Pope Francis have both made highly publicized visits to prisons in the last few months in an effort to shine a spotlight on issues within the country’s criminal justice system. During Obama’s visit, the issue of mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders took center stage—and it’s a policy most Americans think should be eliminated.


More than three-quarters (77 percent) of Americans, including 83 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of independents, 66 percent of Republicans, and 69 percent of Tea Party members, agree that mandatory minimums should be eliminated so that judges can make sentencing decisions on a case-by-case basis. In fact, majorities of every subgroup analyzed were in agreement that the policy should be dismissed.

Notably, there were no differences among white and black Americans on the issue. Just over three-quarters of white, non-Hispanic (76 percent) and black, non-Hispanic Americans (76 percent) agree mandatory minimums should be eliminated. There were not enough Hispanic Americans in this survey to determine a response.

For more, read through PRRI’s 2014 Post-Election American Values Survey.