ACLU Calls Inflated Crack Cocaine Penalties Unjust

By Terrapinzflyer · Oct 13, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    ACLU Calls Inflated Crack Cocaine Penalties Unjust

    The American Civil Liberties Union urged Congress Monday to reevaluate sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, saying that inflated penalties for the possession of crack are unjust.

    “What we are talking about here is a modest step. Crack cocaine is still going to be illegal after this disparity is reduced, people who commit drug crime using guns will still be punished harshly,” Former Department of Justice attorney Paul Butler said during a briefing on Capitol Hill. “What we are asking is for the law to get rid of this unfairness. It will go a long way in restoring confidence in American criminal justice, people will respect the criminal justice system more because the criminal justice system will be more respectable.”

    According to the ACLU he current minimum mandatory sentence for a first-time possession of crack cocaine is five years in prison without parole, which differs from other drug penalties where the penalty for a first-time offense is a misdemeanor requiring no prison time. This was implemented two decades ago when crack cocaine was thought to be more dangerous than other drugs and responsible for increased drug-related violence.

    “The sentence for any crime should reflect the magnitude of the harm that is done, it should be proportionate to it,” Vice president of Prison Fellowship Pat Nolan said.

    According to the ACLU, there is currently a 100:1 quantity ratio, meaning it takes 100 times the quantity of powder cocaine to receive the same mandatory sentencing imposed for crack cocaine offenses. The Sentencing Committee has recommend to Congress that the quantity ratio between crack cocaine and powder cocaine be changed to 1:1 or at least a 20:1 quantity ratio.

    Congress has not adopted this proposal.

    By Leah Valencia, The University of New Mexico- Talk Radio News Service
    October 13,2009

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  1. EscapeDummy
    Reagan made it a 1000:1 ratio, which was simply fucked up, until Clinton knocked it down to the current 100:1 ratio. Clearly a racist, unjust policy, just look at the sentencing and arrest statistics across ethnicity or income, and you'll see what this law is all about, and why its written like that.
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    ^^^ while turtle agrees with you in many respects, especially the continued disparity. But turtle saw first hand the early days of crack in both DC and NY which were pretty much ground zero, and it was bad. Turtle has never seen a level of violence, folks openly carrying automatic weapons on the streets... there was more to it then just racism.
  3. EscapeDummy
    For sure, swim does know about the utter devastation of families and communities that crack caused. Swim meant it in the sense of the original 1000:1 law, which he feels has strong racist/'population control' undertones. A kid in the ghetto with a few hits of coke and a shitty pipe gets thrown in jail for the same amount of time as a midlevel dealer with several kilos? Doesn't seem right.

    Also, was DC/NY ground zero, or was it (south central) LA? Swim has heard of crack arriving in both areas 'first', and wasn't sure where it all started.
  4. Terrapinzflyer
    ^^^ LA looks to have been the entry point- can't remember the name of the journalist that did the piece on the man (freeway ramdy jones?? )linked to the CIA bringing it all in in the early days. Maybe its that the turtle was mostly on the east coast at the time, but it does seem DC was hardest hit first.

    Turtle remembers early crack hoses in NY that had pneumatic tubes (like banks use at drive thu's for delivery of the crack from secured sections of the houses.
    Crack houses were also the first time turtle saw armored vehicles being used by police.

    In a lot of ways turtle thinks the continued inequality is even more atrocious now that things have calmed down. In the early phases...well...things were ugly
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