John Oliver slams mandatory minimums, demands more reform on Last Week Tonight

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Posted July 27 2015 — 8:46 AM EDT

John Oliver took on the need for mandatory minimum reform on the latest Last Week Tonight, highlighting a number of cases of prisoners serving surprisingly long prison sentences for relatively minor crimes.

Oliver pointed to several prisoners incarcerated with life or decades-long sentences for crimes that even some of the judges who sentenced them agree deserved smaller sentencings. But their hands were tied by mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and Oliver believes this needs to change.

“Just think about how annoyed you get when people who get seated after you at a restaurant get served and leave before you,” he said. “Only in this case, the food is prison food, the restaurant is prison, and dinner takes 55 f—— years.”

Watch the Last Week Tonight host explain his case above, detailing minimums and even some of the reforms that have taken place to combat them that don’t quite go far enough in his view. It’s a story that brings Oliver to tears. (And those tears, when combined with The Notebook and Britain’s collective stiff upper lip, is exactly what landed Oliver in America.)