For more information on federal laws on cocaine possession, see cocaine. While they are both different chemical forms of cocaine, they differ in how they are made, how they are abused, their cost, dangers. Apr 28, 2014 gram for gram, there is less active drug in crack cocaine than in powder cocaine. A 2010 federal law rectified some, though not all, of the sentencing disparities.
Regardless of changes in the federal law, a charge of crack or powder cocaine is a very serious charge. The new law significantly reduces the cocaine sentencing quantity disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1 by raising the quantity of crack cocaine necessary to trigger the five and tenyear mandatory minimum sentences first set in 1986. Sentencing patterns in different jurisdictions vary intrajurisdictional disparity. Powder cocaine after a decade of contentious debate regarding the federal sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powder cocaine, a number of significant initiatives to reform current policy have recently emerged. Today, states maintain sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses.
The us sentencing commission provided this analogy in 1997 to support equalizing penalties for crack and powder cocaine. Inmate wants congress to address forgotten victims of crack cocaine sentencing disparity. Disparity in sentencing for crack vs powder cocaine. The sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine led. The fair sentencing act changed a regime that essentially treated one gram of crack cocaine as the equivalent of 100 grams of powder cocaine. 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 20year mandatory minimum prison term. The federal crack statute was passed during the height of the socalled. Under the current law, crack users possessing only 5 grams of the drug are charged with a felony to get the same charge, powder cocaine users have to be caught with 500 grams. Congress on wednesday changed a 25yearold law that has. These include legislation introduced in congress and a series of hearings resulting in recommendations by the united states sentencing. Unwarranted disparity is defined as different treatment of individual offenders who are similar in relevant ways, or similar treatment of individual.
Joining the panel will be hilary shelton from the naacp, pat nolan from prison fellowship, and lisa rich from the ussc. The bill does not eliminate the disparity, but dramatically reduces it. Our current law is discriminatory, said lynne lyman of the drug policy alliance. To get a comparable sentence, a dealer selling powdered cocaine would have to. Crack and cocaine powder sentencing disparities essay. Aug 03, 2010 data show racial disparity in crack sentencing. Many inmates are being released starting tuesday, thanks to changes easing the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. Supreme court weighs whether law reducing crack cocaine. Congress on wednesday changed a 25yearold law that has subjected tens of thousands of african americans to.
Feb 19, 2015 in light of the current sentencing disparity18. Congress passes bill to reduce disparity in crack, powder cocaine sentencing. Proposals to eliminate sentencing disparities between. Cocaine is typically snorted, and crack is typically smoked. In 2010 congress passed the fair sentencing act, which repealed the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession and reduced the sentencing disparity from 100. It also ignored the clinton administrations proposal to reduce the ratio to 10 to 1. On august 3, 2010, president obama signed into law historic legislation that reduces the twodecadesold sentencing disparity between federal crack and powder cocaine offenses. Congress passes law to reduce crackpowder cocaine sentencing.
Disparity in sentencing for crack vs powder cocaine essay. The fsa changed this socalled 100toone disparity to a disparity of 18toone. The disparity is highly controversial and often attributed to racial and economic bias rather than the relative harm of crack versus cocaine. This analysis focused on the need for genderspecific data and the contributing. Another difference between crack and cocaine relates to the high produced. Crack and powder cocaine have similar pharmacological and physiological effects on the body, as major studies have shown us. But commuting the sentence of those eight is only the first step. In late 2007 the united states sentencing commission commission lowered the sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses and recommended that congress finally address the lengthy mandatory minimum sentences for lowlevel crack cocaine offenses.
Sentencing commissions recommendation to reduce the penalties for crack cocaine offenses from the powder crack cocaine ratio of 100 to 1, to 5 to 1. Are there any possible arguments in favor of sentencing. Fair sentencing act american civil liberties union. Some 2020 democratic candidate argue that the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine, which now sits at 18to1, should be eliminated entirely. Despite the fact that the chemical structure of powder cocaine and crack cocaine is nearly identical, the punishment for crack possession or sales is far greater than that of cocaine. A comprehensive examination of the 100to1 crack versus powder cocaine sentencing disparity under which distribution of just 5 grams of crack carries a minimum 5year federal prisonsentence, while distribution of 500 grams of powder cocaine carries the same 5year mandatory minimum sentence. In 2010, congress passed the fair sentencing act fsa, which reduced the sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine from 100. The sentencing disparity for dealing crack and powder cocaine was 100 to 1. Apr 17, 2020 download page term paper on disparity in sentencing for crack vs. Jul 28, 2010 the us house of representatives wednesday approved a bill, sb 1789, that addresses one of the most glaring injustices of the american drug war. Allow judges to consider employment status or family situation.
Federal policy is responsible for this disparity, the antidrug abuse act of 1986 and public law 1. Crack cocaine and powder cocaine are sometimes referred to in research and other outlets simply as cocaine, but there is a big difference between the two. Now that disparity is being reduced from 100to1 to 18to1. Federal crack cocaine sentencing the sentencing project. Inmate wants congress to address forgotten victims of crack. Regardless of how many people use which drug and what the penalties are for doing so, the truth of the matter is that both. Sentencing commissions recommendation to reduce the penalties for crack cocaine offenses from the powdercrack cocaine ratio of 100 to 1, to 5 to 1. The us house of representatives wednesday approved a bill, sb 1789, that addresses one of the most glaring injustices of the american drug war. Data show racial disparity in crack sentencing us news. While the effect of such policies on racial disparities in incarceration is.
Race and class penalties in crack cocaine sentencing by michael coyle overview after a decade of contentious debate regarding the federal sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powder cocaine, a number of significant initiatives to reform current policy. Cocaine is generally found in white powder form, and crack is found in a rock form that is generally white, cream, tan, or light brown. The fair sentencing act amends existing laws by increasing the amounts of crack that trigger these penalties, from five grams to 28 grams for fiveyear minimum sentences and from 50 grams to 280 grams for tenyear minimum sentences. Cracking the racial disparity for cocaine sentencing.
Crack cocaine disparity, the fair sentencing act 2010. Media portrayals of powder and crack cocaine offenders are. Discrimination difference in treatment on individual based criteria irrelevant to a case such as race, gender, or social class interjurisdictional disparity. Chemically there is no difference between the two forms of cocaine.
Download page term paper on disparity in sentencing for crack vs. New rules slashing crack cocaine sentences go into. Now, the ten year sentence is triggered by 280 grams of crack instead of 50. House republicans and democrats are in agreement that u. Cocaine sentencing disparities may change prison legal news.
Under what is commonly referred to as the 100to1 cocaine sentencing disparity, it takes one hundred times as much powder cocaine as crack cocaine to trigger the federal mandatory minimums. So, the federal law still imposes a different and harsher sentence for crack cocaine possession than it does for powder cocaine possession, but the disparity is not nearly as great as under the 1986 act. Assistant majority leader dick durbin dil introduced the fair sentencing act of 2009, a narrowlytailored bill that would eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine and increase penalties for the worst offenders. Whereas, the fiveyear federal mandatory minimum sentencing amount for cocaine base hereinafter crack is five grams and the corresponding amount for cocaine hydrochloride hereinafter powder cocaine is 500 gms. As one of only 12 states left in the country that maintains this unjust disparity in cocaine sentencing, i am happy to see this bill move forward. This report addresses disparities in cocaine sentencing in states and documents efforts at the federal and state level to correct these injustices. At the time, possession of crack cocaine resulted in penalties 100 times higher than possession of an equal amount of the powdered form.
This article was prepared by s 501c4 lobbying nonprofit, the drug reform coordination network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. While some aspects of drug use and distribution may justify a higher penalty for crack than for powder cocaine, the present 100 to 1 quantity ratio is too great. Crackpowder cocaine sentencing disparity changed in 2010. The sentencing disparities between crack and cocaine attn. Gram for gram, there is less active drug in crack cocaine than in powder cocaine. Since then the federal bureau of prisons began to have budget and overcrowding problems. Eliminate sentencing disparities for crack cocaine.
Sentencing patterns in different jurisdictions vary. The sentencing disparity between convictions for crack cocaine and powder cocaine is discriminatory toward africanamericans. Congress moves to narrow cocaine sentencing disparities. As one of only 12 states left in the country that maintains this unjust disparity in cocaine sentencing, i am. This dramatic sentencing disparity exists despite the fact that the drugs are pharmacologically identical. Participants focused on the disparity in crack cocaine sentences to powder cocaine sentences, and ways to change the 100 to 1 ratio. Federal policy is responsible for this disparity, the antidrug abuse act of 1986 and public law 10438 federal sentencing guidelines, amendment, disapproval being the most significant contributors. Us sentencing commission urges congress to reduce crack. The amount of powder cocaine necessary to trigger the sentence is still five kilos. Crack and powder cocaine, two forms of the same drug, produce similar physiological effects and are pharmacologically. Cracking the racial disparity for cocaine sentencing center.
Racial disparity at sentencing on the rise, march 18, 2020. Regardless of changes in the federal law, a charge of. Mandatory minimum sentencing policies and cocaine use in the u. Crack and cocaine powder sentencing disparities essay example. Before the passage of the fair sentencing act in the united states in 2010, possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine, or 500 grams of powder cocaine, constituted a felony offensea 100to1 disparity. After a decade of contentious debate regarding the federal sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powder cocaine, a number of significant initiatives to reform current policy have recently emerged. After the passage of the act, possession of 28 grams of crack cocaine constituted a felony offense or 500 grams of power cocaine, as beforean 18to1 disparity. Congress acts to reduce disparity drug war chronicle. Disparity, discrimination, and adverse impacts fair sentencing is individualized sentencing. Until 2010, this sentencing disparity was 100 to 1, which means that while just 5 grams of crack would carry a 5year mandatory minimum, it would take 500 grams of cocaine to trigger the same 5year sentence. The house of representatives passed a bill on wednesday that would reduce the disparities between mandatory federal sentences for crack and powder cocaine violations, a.
While a person found with five grams of crack cocaine faced a fiveyear mandatory minimum prison sentence. Sex and race disparities in departures from the federal sentencing guidelines. The tide is clearly turning against the failed war on drugs. The legislation also eliminates the mandatory minimum for simple possession of crack cocaine. The difference between powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Congress acts to reduce crackpowder cocaine sentencing. Crack and cocaine also differ in the manner in which they are used. Jul 29, 2010 the house of representatives passed a bill on wednesday that would reduce the disparities between mandatory federal sentences for crack and powder cocaine violations, a step toward ending what. Because crack and powder cocaine are two forms of the same drug, there should not be any disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine offenses the only truly fair ratio is 1. Proposals to eliminate sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses. Mar 31, 2020 sentencing disparities between crack cocaine vs.1477 1053 579 541 1058 603 89 1329 293 535 1026 1090 1408 1057 120 1296 1256 908 194 1243 1411 664 511 1193 1302 219 239 628 516 1065 687