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April 27, 2009

"Time to end the crack disparity"

The title of this post is the title of this editorial from today's Philadelphia Inquier.  Here is an excerpt:

This is National Crack the Disparity Month. Never heard of it? Then listen. Crack the Disparity is the name of a coalition lobbying to change the federal law mandating longer sentences to persons arrested for having crack cocaine than those caught with powder cocaine....

The uneven treatment strikes at the heart of the justice system. The stiff sentence for crack cocaine is one of the main reasons prisons are overflowing with nonviolent offenders.

The harsher sentences have had a terrible impact on inner-city neighborhoods, where the cheaper crack is more likely to be found. Families are torn apart when members are arrested and sent to prison for long terms. Meanwhile, those arrested with powder cocaine, which is more likely in affluent settings where that form is more prevalent, get off light, in comparison.

Equal crimes should be punished equally. That's the message of the coalition, which will take 70 people to Washington tomorrow to lobby for an end to the disparity in cocaine sentencing....

The month-long attention to the cocaine sentencing issue will culminate Wednesday with a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. Additional information about the hearing is on The Sentencing Project's Web site, www.sentencingproject.org.

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April 27, 2009 at 08:53 AM | Permalink


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Oh, come on! If, as (I believe it was) the ACLU stated, the reduction of crack sentences by two levels about a year ago was the biggest civil rights development of the past several years, then why no love for the fact that the Administration on Wednesday will urge COMPLETE elimination of the disparity between powder and crack sentences?

Posted by: anon | Apr 27, 2009 7:59:58 PM

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