Tag: crack powder cocaine penalties

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...]

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Washington Post Endorses Weak Crack Cocaine Reform Bill

The Washington Post has called on the House to pass a watered down crack cocaine reform bill, introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin and drug warrior Sen. Jeff Sessions and negotiated with Sen. Sessions, Lindsay Graham and Orrin Hatch.

Rather than equalizing crack cocaine and powder cocaine penalties, it would reduce the disparity so that crack is still punished 18 times more severely than powder. The bill also adds sentencing enhancements for some drug crimes. Worst of all, the bill specifically states it is not retroactive, meaning it will not help those already serving unfair draconian sentences.

The bill that the full House (and then the Senate) needs to pass is H.R. 3245, the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009, by Rep. Bobby Scott. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee in July, 2009 and has seen no action since. [More...]

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