Congress Changes Crack Cocaine Sentencing
Published on 07/29/2010 -
This bill addresses the disparity in sentencing guidelines between the possession of crack cocaine and the powder form of the drug.
Previously, crack users could be charged with a felony for possessing 5 grams of the drug whereas powder cocaine users needed to be caught with 500 grams, a 100-1 disparity.
Crack cocaine is disproportionately used by African Americans, leading to accusations that the law was fueled by racist motivations.
A person caught with 28 grams of crack cocaine will now trigger a five-year jail sentence. Therefore, the ratio of disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing is now at 18-1 instead of the previous 100-1 ratio.
The bill passed in both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support. Some critics denounce the new law because it still treats crack and powder cocaine users differently.
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