Posts Tagged ‘Senator Dick Durbin’

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.