On July 28,2010, the Fair Sentencing Act (S.1789) that will alleviate the disparity of crack-cocaine federal mandatory minimum sentencing was passed by congress and is now awaiting the signature of President Obama. For over twenty years, the federal mandatory minimum sentencing for both drugs had the same penalty for the possession of different quantities. This was referred to as the ” 100-1 drug quantity ratio” which sentenced an offender possessing 5 grams of cocaine base (crack)/ 500 grams of cocaine salt (powder) to 5 years in prison. The new imposed sentencing will be 18:1 for 28 grams of crack and 500 grams of cocaine salt with an expectation that tax dollars will be saved and law enforcement agencies will eliminate the wasting of federal money and time on targeting low-level drug offenders and concentrate on major traffickers. Even though the two substances are pharmacologically identical, crack was perceived as causing more addiction and violence amongst its users which was known as the crack epidemic in the eighties. This was obviously a myth, but who would suffer the most because of this disparity would be african-americans. According to the U.S Sentencing Commission, Blacks make up 82.7% of crack convictions and Whites, Hispanics make up 71.4% of cocaine powder convictions. Even though the crack-cocaine reform will reduce sentencing , there still will remain a large gap between crack and cocaine powder sentencing for possession. This federal mandatory minimum law was always referred to the harshest and most unethical of all the other drug laws and the only one to have a severe penalty for possession only. The crack-cocaine sentencing reform has caught the attention of many protestors from various organizations including law officials, judges and the NAACP who disagreed with the severe penalty and fought for a change. Even though we have finally approached a resolution, there are many first time offenders serving maximum sentences for possession of crack . Is this really a reform? Will it remain a racial discriminatory law or is it?
To read more about the S.1789 reform go to http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1789/show