Crack Cocaine Penalty Reduction Made Retroactive

Great news from the U.S. Sentencing Commission today for the 12,000 plus federal inmates serving draconian prison sentences for crack cocaine. The Commission voted unanimously to make the new crack cocaine penalty reduction retroactive.

The United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously today to give retroactive effect to its proposed permanent amendment to the federal sentencing guidelines that implements the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Retroactivity of the amendment will become effective on November 1, 2011― the same day that the proposed permanent amendment would take effect― unless Congress acts to disapprove the amendment.

It's not a free pass. [More...]

The average sentence reduction for eligible offenders will be approximately 37 months, and the overall impact on the eligible offender population will occur incrementally over decades. The average sentence for these offenders, even after reduction, will remain about 10 years.

Congress could still prevent the retroactivity. But if it does nothing by November 1, it goes into effect.

This is so long overdue, and great news for those serving these unjust sentences.

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  • Display: Sort:
    That is good news (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:49:05 PM EST
    Let's hope Congress is better at doing nothing with this than they were with letting the tax cuts expire.

    Unfortunately, I predict this will go (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:53:02 PM EST
    down in flames.  Too close to election.  

    Run on it (none / 0) (#4)
    by Rojas on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:14:47 PM EST
    not away from it.

    Do we keep closing schools to warehouse these folks?


    The cost of incarceration seems to be (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:17:00 PM EST
    a winning point a present.  Even the cost of death penalty in CA.  Kind of surprising.  Garcetti.

    All the amendment does, is allow judges (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 08:32:27 PM EST
    to reduce old (federal) crack sentences from the former ridiculous and discriminatory levels to the current merely-excessive levels.  Hardly a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    Well. (none / 0) (#6)
    by lilburro on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:53:42 PM EST
    The USA Today told me that no problems are expected.  So there!

    Anyway I doubt that Congress will meddle.  I think it's an issue that might excite the liberal base (in a good way) and probably seem obscure or irrelevant to the righties/Tea Party folk.  


    Crack is soooo.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:56:13 PM EST
    1980's scary...Tea Partiers are probably more concerned about bath salts, the new drug scare du'jour.

    May I add... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:10:00 PM EST
    Not that there is anything wrong with a free pass in cases of non-crime.