Earlier this month, President Barack Obama granted clemency to 46 men and women who were serving time for non-violent drug related offenses most of whom who were rewarded outrageously long sentences due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws.   

For those unaware, mandatory minimum sentencing laws require judges to punish certain crimes with a minimum number of years in prison regardless of consideration for context or circumstance. Many of the current mandatory minimum were passed during the US’ “War on Drugs” in the '80s and '90s, where public and presidential opinion believed that harsh punishments were key to derailing drug use and trafficking. See why John Oliver thinks that's a terrible idea below:

Bonus: We found the PSAs from Pee-wee Herman, Mr. T and the Muppet Babies that Oliver sampled from. You're welcome.

Cover: YouTube


facts about Mandatory Minimum sentencing Laws:

 According to CNN, since 1980, the number of inmates behind bars has more than quadrupled. To put that into perspective, 1 out of 100 adults is locked up. We currently have 2 million people who are incarcerated.

 Mandatory minimum laws disproportionately affect minority populations. In 2010, nearly 75% of those sentenced with mandatory minimums for drug-related charges were either black or Latino. 

 Since 2000, 29 states have changed their stance on mandatory minimum laws.