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Justice Wants to End Disparity in Sentencing Between Crack and Powdered Cocaine

crack-cocaine-dea

This change has been a long time coming. The disparity in sentencing was a simple minded approach to a complicated issue that has plagued America’s inner cities where crack cocaine sales are most prevalent. There has to be a smarter approach to dealing with this problem that has lead to the deterioration of so many inner city neighborhoods and resulted in so many young people going off to prison. If the tougher sentences had worked, that would have been another story. But they haven’t. Time for a smarter approach.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Justice Department officials yesterday endorsed for the first time a plan that would eliminate vast sentencing disparities between possession of powdered cocaine and rock cocaine, an inequity that civil rights groups say has affected poor and minority defendants disproportionately.

Lanny A. Breuer, the new chief of the criminal division, told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that the Obama administration would support bills to equalize punishment for offenders convicted of possessing the drug in either form, fulfilling one of the president’s campaign pledges.

Breuer explicitly called on Congress to act this term to “completely eliminate” the sentencing disparity.

The issue has received attention from both political parties, but until now, top law enforcement officials have not backed legislative reforms, according to drug control analysts.


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