Survey Shows Many Americans Think Sentences For Drug Crimes Are Too Harsh

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

According to a poll by The Huffington Post in collaboration with YouGov, many Americans support President Barack Obama’s decision to pardon 22 prisoners who were serving long sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. 

Though only 7 percent of the respondents said they’d heard about Obama’s decision, 46 percent of the 1,000 respondents said they approved of of his decision to commute the sentences. 

The poll also found 14 percent of respondents believed prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes are typically too lenient, while 40 percent said the sentences were too harsh. Another 25 percent said the sentences were appropriate for the crime.

An effort to reform sentencing for nonviolent offenders has proven somewhat popular on both sides of the aisle, with 61 percent of Democrats, and 44 percent of Republicans saying people shouldn’t be sentenced to life in prison for drug possession. Democrats are twice as likely to say the sentences are too harsh.

More than one-half of respondents said people shouldn’t be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for being convicted of drug possession several times. Though people generally approved of Obama commuting the prisoners' sentences, only 22 percent of respondents said they approve of how Obama has handled drug policy.

Source: YouGov, The Huffington Post

Image via Emilien Etienne/Flickr