The System

Mandatory Sentencing

How did a man in Florida end up with a 20-year prison sentence after shooting a warning shot in his house?

The American criminal justice system enforces our laws and keeps watch over us – but who is watching the system? Award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger examines the state of America’s criminal justice system.

In Florida, the unintended consequences of mandatory minimum gun laws seem to outweigh its merits as a father is sent to prison for 20 years for “defending his family.”

While in Illinois, politicians carefully craft a tough-on-crime bill inspired by the death of a promising honour student that may offer relief to a community plagued by escalating gun violence.

In this episode, Joe Berlinger explores the effectiveness and justness of mandatory sentencing in a current climate that preaches reform. When does mandatory sentencing work and when is it problematic?