Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Fair sentencing for crack and cocaine

I'm a little late in posting this, but I was reading a back issue of Newsweek and found this nice article I agree with about disparate sentencing of crack vs. power cocaine*.

Brief summary: The problem has been that crack cocaine dealers receive disproportionately long sentences compared to dealers of power cocaine. According to the article, "If federal prosecutors convicted you of peddling five grams of crack, you got the same five-year minimum sentence as someone dealing 500 grams of powder." This differential sentencing has hit black communities particularly hard because they tend to use crack more than cocaine. Cose urges the administration to change this "dimwitted" policy and focus on more real drug problems, such as abuse of opioid painkillers.

* This is a subject about which I have occasional and only moderately well-informed but strong opinions.

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