Re-Evaluating Mandatory Minimums

Back in the 80s, Eric Sterling was instrumental in the drafting of U.S. legislation for mandatory minimum sentences. Twenty-five years later, he feels responsible for a law that he believes lead to a great deal of injustice. He's joined two dozen former judges, special agents, police, narcotics investigators and other criminal justice professionals who have signed a letter imploring the Harper government not to follow the same path. We'll hear from him and from the Canadian who's been pivotal in creating our pending mandatory minimum law.

Part Two of The Current

Re-Evaluating Mandatory Minimums

Canada's Bill C-10 -- also known as the Safe Streets and Communities Act soon returns to the House of Commons after the Senate approved several changes. But for many who work in the criminal justice system, the Bill hasn't changed enough. Among other things, Bill C-10 includes a controversial proposal that forces judges to give mandatory minimum sentences for drug related offences.

Eric Sterling was legal counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee which drafted Washington's mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the 1980s. He has changed his mind since then and believes Canada is about to repeat the same mistakes. Eric Sterling joined us from our studio in Washington

Robert Sampson served as Corrections Minister of Ontario in the government of Mike Harris. In 2007 Stockwell Day, Federal Minister of Public Safety -- asked Mr. Sampson to draft a review of Canada's Correctional Services. Many of the recommendations in Robert Sampson's 2007 report are now included in Bill C-10. Mr Sampson joined us from Banff, Alberta.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch.

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