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Re-examining the 100-1 Ratio

In The Black Man on March 30, 2010 at 12:56 am

While the country was mired in the health care reform debate, the Senate passed a bill that could possibly narrow the disparity between cocaine and crack sentences. According to Jim Abrams of the AP, “Currently, a person convicted of crack cocaine possession gets the same mandatory jail time as someone with 100 times the same quantity of powder cocaine. That 100-1 ratio has been particularly hard on the black community, where convictions on federal crack laws are more prevalent.”

Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who was in favor of the 100-1 ratio bill in 1986, stated that “Crack cocaine had just appeared on the scene, and it scared us because it was cheap, addictive. We thought it was more dangerous than many narcotics.” But now, as Durbin points out, “Law enforcement experts say that the crack-powder disparity undermines trust in the criminal justice system, especially in the African-American community. According to Senator Durbin, African Americans, who roughly comprise 30 percent of crack users, are much more likely to be convicted of federal offenses.

Currently, the House has a similar measure as the Senate (H.R. 3245), the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act awaiting vote. Click here to read the ACLU press release on eliminating the crack-cocaine sentencing disparity.

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  1. Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

  2. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days..

  3. i agree with this post in certain aspects but not in others. It all depends on your point of view really.

  4. Interesting perspective…..some think that the sentence for some crimes is “unfair”? Stop breaking the law and you will not have to worry about it. Having said that, we do need rehabilitation made available to these offenders. Just stuffing them in a jail cell will not change their behaviors when their sentence is finished, and they will just do the same crime again. Early release should be offered to prisoners who show a desire to change their behaviors (attending support meetings, good behavior, etc.)

  5. I would like this bill HR3245 passed. Many young black men are serving 10 years or more for crack cocaine distribution on a street level and cocaine, meth, heroin offenders are receiving slaps on the wrist basically. I believe there should be alternative sentencing the penitentiary is a place where penitence is to begin and more criminal education, sexual violations, murders and/or stabbings and assaults take place there. A lot of young men are victims of broken homes then they have children are arrested because of their crimes and the cycle continues. I want the cycle stopped! The origin of the drugs in our country is what needs to be stopped as well as the impact in public/private schools where drugs are infiltrating our children. Please help! My son has been affected by this and other young men!

  6. There is obviously a lot to learn about this. There were some pretty good points.

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