This research paper will be focusing on the controversial issue of mandatory minimum sentences in Canada. There has been much debate over the topic, as it has quickly become implemented for the sentencing of drug offenders, drug-related crimes and banned firearm offenses. I will argue that every case that comes through the Canadian criminal justice system is different and deserves a fair trial with a sentence that is not already determined for the accused. There have been many cases where the judge had no discretion in the sentence due to the mandatory minimum sentences, no matter what the mitigating factors ( first offense, provoked, mental disorder, age, etc.) were. Throughout this paper, I will discuss one of the cases that represent an unjust sentencing outcome due to the mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Robert Latimer is a highly controversial Canadian case about a father who killed his mentally disabled daughter out of compassion to end her severe suffering. I will stress how it should be the discretion of the judge to individualize the sentences based on the offender's mitigating factors, and background. I will argue that the mandatory minimum sentences in Canada should be reduced or eliminated as they result in very few positive outcomes for the offender and society, increase recidivism rates and correctional system costs, and disproportionately affect vulnerable people. I will be using many academic articles throughout this paper to give empirical support to the overall argument. .
History and Development .
A mandatory sentence is a fixed sanction prescribed by Parliament for committing certain crimes. A mandatory sentence can basically involve any type of sentence, but generally it deals with a mandatory prison sentence of a particular length. In some cases, people are sent to prison who, in the absence of a mandatory minimum sentence, would not have received a prison sentence.