John Oliver Explains Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentences & Why They Suck Using Brilliant Penis Jokes — VIDEO

No matter what anyone tells you, size doesn't always matter. According to John Oliver, this applies in at least two cases: mandatory minimum prison sentences and penis size. Oliver took aim against mandatory minimums in the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, in which he said, "Prison sentences are a lot like penises: If they’re used correctly, even a short one can do the trick." Mandatory minimums have been thrust into the spotlight recently, after President Barack Obama freed 46 nonviolent offenders and then gave a speech about the effects that mandatory minimums have on the prison population, the economy, and poverty in the U.S.

Oliver opened his segment by calling Obama's clemency action "the criminal justice version of Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, but with the chance to walk free rather than the opportunity to, once again, disappoint [judge] Padma [Lakshmi] with your risotto." But then Oliver turns to the hard — sorry, difficult — topic at hand. He said that mandatory minimums "require judges to punish certain crimes with a minimum number of years in prison, regardless of context." Oliver said this is really weird, because context is often key in a number of situations:

Oliver said that mandatory minimums were mostly passed during the tough-on-crime era of the '80s and '90s, and they've seriously contributed to the "explosion" of our prison population. (In his speech, Obama pointed out that the U.S. is home to five percent of the world's population and a staggering 25 percent of the world's prisoners.) Oliver flashed to a news segment about how the U.S. prison population has quadrupled since 1980, which means that roughly one out of every 100 adults is now behind bars. Oliver joked about just how many prisoners that actually means, and referred to an experiment in 1788 in which England banned its prisoners to a colony in Australia:

Then Oliver got serious, and showed a clip of Kevin Ott, a prisoner who received life without parole for possessing three ounces of methamphetamine. Oliver called this "insane":

Oliver said most of America's mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes were written in the '80s and '90s when the U.S. was "in the grips of a full-fledged anti-drug hysteria." He showed hilarious clips that were shown on TV as anti-drug propaganda. But then Oliver showed a senator who went to prison for fraud and realized that mandatory minimums have no deterrent effect, because perpetrators often aren't aware of the punishment for drug crimes. And then Oliver dropped the greatest penis analogy ever:

But Oliver quickly returned to the serious side of the issue, because "the truth is, mandatory minimums didn't just not work — they ruined lives":

Oliver pointed out that Angelos wasn't the only one affected by his sentence. Angelos' two sons, who were five and seven when he was sentenced, "were just destroyed." Oliver cut to a clip of one of Angelos' sons saying that 55 years was just way too much. Shockingly, former Judge Paul Cassell, the judge on Angelos' case, agreed with this:

Oliver summed up the absurdity of the sentence with some simple math:

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