CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pressure Builds in Crack vs. Coke Controversy

From Momentum is building in Congress to ease crack cocaine sentencing guidelines, which the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics say have filled prisons with low-level drug dealers and addicts whose punishments were much worse than their crimes.

Federal prison sentences for possessing or selling crack have far exceeded those for powder cocaine for two decades. House Crime Subcommittee chairman Robert Scott, D-Va., a longtime critic of such sentencing policies, plans to hold hearings on crack sentences this year. In the Senate, Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama is drawing bipartisan support for his proposal to ease crack sentences.

"I believe that as a matter of law enforcement and good public policy that crack cocaine sentences are too heavy and can't be justified," Sessions says. "People don't want us to be soft on crime, but I think we ought to make the law more rational."

The mandatory federal sentencing guidelines passed by Congress in 1986 require a judge to impose the same sentence for possession of 5 grams of crack as for 500 grams of powder cocaine: five years in prison.

Congress passed the sentencing laws just after the fatal crack overdose of University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias on June 19, 1986, and as crack was emerging in urban areas, says Alfred Blumstein, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who researches crime. Crack cocaine was associated with violent, open-air drug markets, he says.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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» A Crack in Crack Cocaine Sentencing? from drugcrimedefender
Various comentators and news organizations have suggested Congress may be interested in addressing the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine. From USA TodayMomentum is building in Congress to ease crack cocaine sentencing guidel... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 16, 2007 8:42:48 AM


much use of drugs can get mental black to the person who use it... but their still use coz it's an illegal...

Posted by: canabisseed | Apr 22, 2007 7:18:38 PM

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