B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy
Over the last 20 years, numerous states and the federal government enacted mandatory minimum reforms, especially for drug offenses. Yet little is known about how effective these reforms have been at the state-level in lowering drug sentences. Using quasi-experimental methods and administrative data, this study evaluates the impact of state-level mandatory minimum reforms on drug sentences and their concomitant racial-ethnic disparities. We find that state-level mandatory minimum reforms do not lower drug sentences in general or change racial-ethnic disparities statistically significantly. These findings suggest that the profound racial-ethnic bias sparked by state-level mandatory minimums are not fully ameliorated by subsequent state-level reforms.
mandatory minimum laws, racial-ethnic disparities, sentencing
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Licensed to Smith College and distributed CC-BY under the Smith College Faculty Open Access Policy.
Craigie, Terry Ann and Zapryanova, Mariyana, "Mandatory Minimum Reforms, Sentencing, And Racial-ethnic Disparities" (2021). Economics: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.