Frankel: Mandatory minimums won't deter crime or cut recidivism

HARRISBURG, April 5 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement regarding House passage of House Bill 741, a Republican-backed bill to reinstate several mandatory minimums that had been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court:

"I’m deeply troubled by the passage of House Bill 741 which would reinstate a number of mandatory minimum sentences that would not deter crime or reduce recidivism. H.B. 741 has never been the subject of a public hearing where judges, attorneys, criminal justice experts, victim advocates and those in the fields of corrections and parole could actually have input in this important bill.

"I voted no on this bill for a number of reasons. Mandatory minimum sentences disproportionately affect minorities and those unable to afford the best representation. These sentences tie the hands of judges and remove any discretion for the judge to fully consider all of the aspects of a given case, including the wishes of a victim who may actually prefer leniency in some cases.

"Today’s vote on H.B. 741 was a classic case of legislative overreach as many in this body continue to hold on to the belief that the legislators know more than judges about how best to impose sentences. I would hope the Senate has the sense not to move this bill for the remainder of the session."