The structure of mass incarceration contradicts Karl Max’s theory on the relationship between law and society because the statute of mandatory meaning imposed in recent years lacks the rationality that Weber claims the modern law has adopted over the years by using bureaucracy.
Max Weber is recognized as the father of the modern sociology of law. He observed that people had rationalized social life in the new area in a purposeful-rational sense. Weber hence discussed the law’s purpose in contemplating the state’s primary role, economy, bureaucracy, and regulation based on modern political authority. He outlined the characteristics of a guided rationalized legal system by applying recommended procedures. Weber analyses the law as an essential part of his sociology based on theoretical propositions and the study of society on modern society’s conditions. He centers his work around loyalty, but analysts blame Weber for failing to extensively expand and clarify how modern society uses rationality and the lack of clarity surrounding his analysis of rationality and the interplay of multifaceted historical rationalization process.
On July 27th, 2015, John Oliver drew the United States people’s attention to the incarceration of proper due to drugs. According to him, the mandatory minimum was irrational and did not consider the affected people and their future. The show starts by explaining how the president gave pardon to 46 people. The government had incarcerated the prisoners for doing drugs by use of the mandatory minimum. He explained that the president’s action to pardon the prisoners was a big deal because they were all initially subjected to mandatory minimums. He also explains the mandatory minimum strangeness and how it has resulted in the increased numbers of prisoners presented by CNN. Ever since the introduction of the required minimum in the 1980s, inmates have quadrupled, as stated in the news. Oliver says that mandatory minimum executed harsh sentences regardless of the context of their crimes. He says that the compulsory minimum were laws put in place by Presidents Reagan and Bush to fight drug use but unfortunately have led to the increased number of inmates who were not violent but were arrested for drug trafficking and convicted for many years with no chance of liberation (Oliver).
Oliver uses a video from the documentary “The House I Live In” of a prisoner who was convicted to life imprisonment without a chance of liberation for having three ounces of methamphetamine. Oliver described the punishment as “treating the prisoner like a season five Walter white when he was barely seasoned one Jesse Pinkman.” He also gives an example of a father of two arrested after selling marijuana to undercover police and was sentenced to 55 years imprisonment without parole. It was unfortunate for the prisoner because the drug is now legal in more than four states. The only side effects the drug had was making Frasier’s episodes slightly funnier, according to Oliver. The purpose of the mandatory minimum was to fight and help eradicate drugs in the United States. However, Oliver says that the laws have brought more good than harm, mainly because the law’s population is often the Hispanic and Black population. On the brighter side, the mandatory minimum sentences have been changed but are yet to be retroactively applied, Oliver’s terms as abhorrent (Oliver).
The mandatory minimum activation has ignored the use of rational law by weber for a long time. The law seemed irrational because the people who were obligated to activate the law; the judges also saw the irrational part of the law. The judge who convicted the prisoner who sold the marijuana to the undercover police says that the sentence was unfair. He compared the sentences that three other violent people, like an aircraft highjacker, a terrorist, and a child rapist, would have received to the prisoner’s sentence and termed the verdict as ‘just not right.’ The police also use the threat of the mandatory minimum to convince the defendants to cooperate or take a pre bargain by providing information. Beauracracy, as explained by Weber, is used against the people it is supposed to protect. The harm the law has brought favors the people in power, like the police, to acquire information (Oliver).
Oliver believes that the government should eradicate the mandatory minimums, and the people convicted receive pardons and, at the east, get another chance to mold their lives. Different people, including John Oliver, the judges who make the judgments, and the people who helped write mandatory minimum laws like Kelvin Ring. They agree that there is a need to have a rational sentence for crimes people commit and nit the “ridiculously crime” sentences as Oliver refers to them. Andria Jones also shows how the mandatory minimum is a shame to the country as they, in most cases, affect the non-violent black and Hispanic people in the United States. Like Oliver, Jones sees the importance of the presidential pardon to pardon the people affected by the mandatory minimum law (Oliver).
In his, article Jones says that the imposing of the mandatory minimum has also shifted “discretion to prosecutors. “The irrational nature of the war on drugs has convicted people of color, with 60% of them flooding the United States prisons. In his article, Jones says that “by linking punishment to drug weight, Mandatory minimums often distort culpability.” Most people arrested for drug trafficking were couriers or street dealers, and they did not have a weapon on them makes the sentences placed on them irrational. The article is Mark Osler’s word, who says that 260,000 people are in prison, and others will continue to face similar sentences as long as the mandatory minimum rule is in place. The article also says that “at the state level reforms without retroactive application strand defend in prison even after the laws that put them there are reassessed as unjust.” Apart from being non-violent, most prisoners are usually either not drug users or did them trying to help their families. For example, in 2004, a young father was arrested after selling crack to help support his family and get money for school. The mandatory minimum he got was 20 years in prison, which the judge also thought was unfair. In the article, the judge states that “This is one of those situations where I’d want to see a congressman sitting before me.” The judge agrees with Jones and Andreas that the mandatory minimums are unfair and need to be reassessed or do away with the laws. (Jones)
The article by Jones is of prisoners for consciously or unconsciously being involved in non-violent drug dealing businesses and received life imprisonment. Andreas and Oliver believe that apart from reducing or doing away with the mandatory minimum, the convicted prisoners should also get the chance to have a second opportunity in life through the presidential pardon. It is also essential, as Weber says, to make rational laws that help all the people and brings equity to all citizens of a particular country (Jones).
To sum it all, the people in the United States of America must fight for the mandatory minimum ban as it is evident it has brought more harm than good. The required minimum is irrational, and the use of the many years for the non-violent drug dealers is unreasonable. Therefore, the government must revise the laws, see the mandatory minimum’s ineffectiveness and look at better ways to deal with it, like rehabilitation and a substantial number of years for the prisoners. The compulsory minimum has destroyed many families’ lives, a seen in Oliver’s commentary and the article by Jones, and it is, therefore, vital for the government to ensure that they provide rational always that equity and deserved convictions.
Jones, Andrea. “The Nation’s Shame: The Injustice of Mandatory Minimums.” Rolling Stone, October 7th, 2014, www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-nations-shame-the-injustice-of-mandatory-minimums-46729/. Accessed January 2nd, 2021.
Oliver, John. “Mandatory Minimums: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).” YouTube, July 26th, 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDVmldTurqk&ab_channel=LastWeekTonight. Accessed November 30th, 2020.