John Oliver Explains The Insanity Of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (VIDEO)

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

John Oliver has tackled the prison industrial complex from multiple sides — including bail and the elections of judges. On Sunday night, he went after mandatory minimum sentencing.

Oliver noted during “Last Week Tonight” that mandatory minimums helped explode the American prison population since the war on drugs that was started in the 1970s by President Nixon.

Now one out of every 100 adults is in lock-up, which Oliver said, is unsustainable.

“We have 2 million people incarcerated. If we keep going this direction, we’ll soon have enough to populate a new country with prisoners. And trust me when I say this is not a good idea,” Oliver said while a map of Australia appeared next to him. “Literally the only good thing to come out of that experiment was Hugh Jackman and it took 180 years. It was worth it, but it took a long time.”

Mandatory minimums have torn families apart and ruined lives for small amounts of drugs, Oliver said.

“Circumstances make a huge difference,” Oliver said.

Watch the clip, from HBO, below:

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: