For decades now there has been a great disparity and unfairness in the way that the Federal Government has prosecuted crack cocaine and powder cocaine cases. There is a 100 to 1 drug disparity between the punishment for powder and crack. A great deal of national debated has raged over the severity of crack punishment. For example, if a person has 5 grams of crack he is subject to a five (5) year mandatory sentence in prison, but someone with powder has to possess 500 grams of powder before they are subject to the same punishment. A person with ten (10) grams of crack is subject to a mandatory ten (10) years in prison. I have witnesses so many young men, mostly African American, who were small time users and sellers get 15 plus years due to the mandatory sentencing. Yet, the people who have powder cocaine receive a much lower sentence. Now all you have to do is think about this for a minute and the absurdity of it becomes obvious. It takes powder cocaine to make crack cocaine. But the people with powder are treated more leniently than the people with crack. The majority of the people caught with crack are African American so you can decide why the punishment disparity.
The new Bill is going through Congress and gaining support even among Senators who originally thought the severe crack sentences were a good idea. President Obama has come out in support of ending the disparity in crack and powder cocaine. The Justice Department has also created a Sentencing and Corrections Working Group to examine drug laws and policies; to look at alternatives to incarceration; and to review unwarranted sentencing in the Federal System. I acknowledge that people must be punished but the punishment in this country for nonviolent offenders has gone through the roof over the past 30 years. As a nation we must examine our laws and look at new sentencing alternatives for nonviolent offenders, first offenders, and youthful offenders. I hope we can expect positive changes from these groups in the future.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.