Strong majority favor eliminating some mandatory minimum sentences - 98 participants

Mar 26, 2015

Minimum mandatory sentences have been touted as an important way of deterring crime, but at what cost? Opponents of the practice cite overcrowded NH prisons that place a hefty burden on taxpayers as an important reason to consider eliminating some or all of these requirements. A push to see some of these mandates removed found its way to the NH House budget. On March 26, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked its 55,000 Facebook members to weigh in, posing the question, “Should NH eliminate some mandatory minimum sentences?”

“Should NH eliminate some mandatory minimum sentences?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Mandatory Minimum Sentences NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 98 participants gave 249 responses

A total of 58% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 42% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 264 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 386 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

Yes: A strong majority, at 86% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were in favor of eliminating some mandatory minimum sentences. 

  • “Every case is unique and should be judged and sentenced that way.”
  • “Our judges don’t need their hands tied by these law.”
  • “Mandatory sentences do not deter crime.”

No:  The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 14%, were opposed to eliminating some mandatory minimum sentences.   

  • “This doesn’t belong in a budget bill.”
  • “If anything, I would make laws even tougher on those that continue to put the public at risk.”
  • “Minimum sentences were put in place for a reason.”

Other: As noted above, 42% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • NH and US incarceration rates.
  • Suggestions: “I think something needs to be done to correct the overcrowding in prisons.”
  • Alternatives: “How about releasing all the nonviolent drug offenders?”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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