Congress has changed a quarter-century-old law that has sent tens of thousands of blacks to prison for crack cocaine convictions while giving far more lenient treatment to those, mainly whites, caught with the same amount of the drug in powder form.This is one clear example, at the very least, of some "Obamanism" changing "Reaganism". Though the ratio is still a gap that needs to be narrowed more, this is massive progress, with big credit going to Dick Durbin on this one.
House passage of what was called the "fair sentencing act" sends the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The measure alters a 1986 law, enacted at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, under which a person convicted of crack cocaine possession gets the same mandatory prison term as someone with 100 times the same amount of powder cocaine.
The legislation reduces that ratio to about 18-to-1.
This just sums it up how long this has been a mind blogging irrational and racist problem in this country, as well as the obvious and right courage to alter this draconian law:
Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, said 28 grams is about what the average crack dealer might carry around.
She said politicians and sentencing commissions have for years acknowledged the unfairness of the system, "but no one wanted to look soft on crime." The legislative change, she said, is "much more about being smart on crime."
And here is the full information on the bill for your viewing pleasure:
Information on the bill, S. 1789, can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov
U.S. Sentencing Commission: http://www.ussc.gov/
Families Against Mandatory Minimums: http://www.famm.org/