Dawkins denounces H.B. 741 for reviving unconstitutional mandatory minimums

HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., voiced his strong opposition to H.B. 741, which aims to revive mandatory minimum sentences for a number of drug-related offenses. The bill was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee today.

"Bringing back mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenses is bad policy, and the majority of the public supports putting this era behind us," Dawkins said. "We need to ensure that judges can use their discretion and expertise to best serve the public in each case that comes before their court, instead of making demands from Harrisburg."

House Bill 741 seeks to revive mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes that were ruled unconstitutional in cases before both the Pennsylvania and U.S. supreme courts. It also would increase sentences for certain offenses.

"We need to face head on the challenges that our communities face with drugs and addiction," Dawkins said. "Increasing the prison population and placing greater strain on the Commonwealth’s budget will only make it harder to deliver the solutions that our constituents are demanding."

Dawkins has been a leader on criminal justice issues in the House, where he has spoken out against mandatory minimums and introduced legislation to bring needed reforms to the state’s sentencing laws.