John Oliver Goes Off on Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentences
Once again, John Oliver dives back into the swamp of American policy to dig up something strange and outrageous. Just like with stadium construction and municipal fines, Oliver and his team at Last Week Tonight are able to take a topic you couldn’t care less about and suddenly make it seem like the most important problem in America today. This time the topic is mandatory minimum prison sentencing, also known as “How some people have their lives ruined for non-violent drug offences because politicians love the war on drugs.”
John Oliver takes us back to the 80’s, when anti-drug hysteria lead to extremely harsh prison sentences for drug offences. The 80’s also featured some bonkers anti-drug PSAs. These mandatory minimums lead to sad situations like a father sentenced to the 55 year minimum for low-level marijuana dealing. Watch his children talk about prison sentences in the video above. (And then stick around for Oliver’s Plane-hijacking-child-raping-terrorist joke.)
The tide is starting to turn against mandatory minimums, which politicians from both sides calling for their reduction. Several states have rolled back some of their mandatory sentences as well. But, as with all things political, it’s a slow process. Luckily we have John Oliver around to highlight the absurdities of our modern world.