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May 1, 2009

New York Times editorial on crack sentencing

The New York Times has this new editorial, headlined "Fairness in Drug Sentencing."  Here are snippets:

Congress’s decision to mandate longer prison terms for people arrested with crack cocaine than those caught with the powdered form of the drug was both irrational and discriminatory....

Congress has repeatedly ignored calls to equalize sentencing, partly because Justice Department officials in previous administrations have argued against it. This week, however, Lanny A. Breuer, the new chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, told lawmakers that it was time to revisit the crack/cocaine disparity.

Mr. Breuer argued that the sentencing disparity was “difficult to justify based on the facts and science, including evidence that crack is not an inherently more addictive substance than powder cocaine.” The law was especially problematic, he continued, “because a growing number of citizens view it as fundamentally unfair.”

Mr. Breuer is right. Instead of perpetuating this discrimination, Congress should quickly move to equalize the penalties for the possession of crack and cocaine.

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May 1, 2009 at 07:43 AM | Permalink

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