The Clemency Initiative

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Crack Cocaine Minimum Sentencing Disparities: Where Is The True Resolution?

Posted by on May 22, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Since the U.S. Congress passed legislation in 2010 repealing a mandatory minimum sentence and reforming the infamous 100-to-one ratio between powder cocaine and crack cocaine (i.e. the Fair Sentencing Act or FSA), fairer sentences have been imposed in relation to such crimes. Prior to the enactment of the FSA, it took 100 times as much powder cocaine as crack cocaine to receive the same five-, 10-, or 20-year mandatory minimum prison term. The FSA changed this so-called “100-to-one” disparity to a disparity of 18-to-one. The law also abolished a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine.  

While the FSA addressed many of the issues that were plaguing low income and minority offenders, who were overwhelming more affected by the tough sentencing in place before it was enacted, it did not retroactively address all of the prisoners who were negatively impacted by such laws! This has left thousands of federal crack cocaine offenders in prison today serving mandatory minimum terms that Congress, the President, and the country have now repudiated as unfair and racially discriminatory. Additionally, the FSA’s 18-to-one ratio does not reflect the fact that crack and powder cocaine are the same drug in different forms, and that crack cocaine crimes are still punished more harshly than powder cocaine offenses. Read more...

- Families Against Mandatory Minimums 

Categories: News

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