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February 9, 2006

IACHR hearing on federal mandatory minimum sentencing

As detailed in this press release, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) "will hold a hearing on the issue of mandatory minimum sentencing on March 3, 2006," which will "review findings that show mandatory minimums are applied in a discriminatory fashion and lead to increased arbitrariness in federal sentencing."  (Background on the IACHR and its work are available at this link.) 

The press release reports that the hearings were spurred by a petition from the Justice Roundtable (available here) and a supporting letter from the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section (available here).  As the press release explains:

The petition cites the 100-to-1 quantity ratio between crack and powder cocaine sentencing as the most flagrant example of how mandatory minimums have a discriminatory impact, since harsh sentences for crack- cocaine convictions fall disproportionately on African Americans. The ABA's letter referenced the Kennedy Commission findings that state "the American policy makers' embrace of mandatory minimums and other practices have produced a steady, dramatic, and unprecedented increase in incarceration and drastically increased racial disparities in the criminal justice system."  This increase in incarceration has occurred despite the fact that recently released Department of Justice data reveal a decline in crime.

February 9, 2006 at 05:18 PM | Permalink


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