Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reducing, But Not Eliminating, Sentencing Disparity

A long-standing dispute over huge disparities in sentencing between crack vs. powdered cocaine appears to be headed for a resolution in Congress.

Senate lawmakers reached across the aisle and brokered a landmark deal this week to reduce criminal penalties for defendants caught with crack cocaine...


The good news is that the sentencing disparity between possession of powered and crack cocaine will be reduced from 100 to 1 to 18 to one. The bad news is that sentencing disparity, which had a disproportionate impact on African Americans, will be retained at 18 to 1. The really bad news is that it took 20 years to even get this far on reform.

Retaining this policy is overt racism as we know that the impact of the law is targeting people of color.

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