End Racial Disparities In Cocaine Sentencing
Bill To End the Crack Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity Is on the Move in the Senate
As a result of a federal law passed in 1986, there is an enormous 100 to 1 disparity between the penalty for possession of crack cocaine and powder cocaine. A person must possess 500 grams of powder cocaine before they are subject to the same mandatory 5-year prison sentence as an individual convicted of possessing just 5 grams of crack cocaine, despite the fact that, pharmacologically, the two drugs are identical. This 100 to 1 ratio has had a devastating impact on African American and Hispanic communities.
Authorities estimate that more than 66% of those who use crack cocaine are white. Yet in 2006, 82% of those convicted and sentenced under federal crack cocaine laws were African American. When you add in Hispanics, this percentage climbs to above 96%.
For these reasons, opposition to the crack cocaine sentencing disparities and mandatory minimum sentences has been voiced by a wide range of civil rights groups as well as the US Sentencing Commission and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Attorney General Holder have all expressed their strong support for eliminating this glaring--and racially dubious--injustice.
Please, send a letter to your Senators today. Tell them its time to end the crack/powder sentencing disparity. We have included a sample letter below. Please feel free to amend and personalize it.
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