Years after the West Wing left us hanging, we finally have an answer to one of the show's biggest unanswered questions: Does President Josiah Bartlet support sentencing reform?
Okay, maybe I'm overstating it a bit. The aptly titled episode "Mandatory Minimums" was far from the most memorable part of the first season of the West Wing, but it really did leave us wondering whether President Bartlet would push to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences. Today we finally have an answer.
Brave New Films, in partnership with the ACLU and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, has released a new video about the importance of passing the Smarter Sentencing Act starring Martin Sheen. In the video, the former President Bartlet says:
Congress is considering sentencing reform that would change how our system uses mandatory minimums. A basic principle of justice is that the punishment should fit the crime. Mandatory minimums undermine that principle by forcing judges to ignore individual circumstances.
President Bartlet may be a fictional character, but the actor who portrayed him understands this key concept: we need to change our country's sentencing laws that destroy lives and waste taxpayer dollars. We need to make our criminal justice system smarter, fairer, and more humane.