Crack vs. Powder Cocaine: Congress Votes to Lessen Disparity

The house has passed a bill that reduces the gap for mandatory sentencing of people convicted of possessing crack and powder cocaine. The senate passed the same bill in March increasing the amount of crack from 5 grams to 28 grams for a 5 year mandatory sentence and from 10 grams to 280 grams for a 10 year mandatory sentence. Powder cocaine takes a 500 gram possession charge to warrant the 5 year mandatory sentence. Crack is much cheaper than powder cocaine, and four out of five people charged with possessing it are black.

I think this is a good bill to reduce the cost on prisons for incarcerating users when the system and police force should be focused on dealers. The Congressional Budget Office says it will save the prison system $42 million over 5 years. This may be peanuts in perspective, but it’s a simple and effective law to improve a previous law that unfairly affects blacks and low income people. Also, think of the positive dollar impact that can come from private charities helping users get on their feet and contribute to society rather than wasting away in prison. For the first time in a while I can actually give congress a little credit.

On a related note, you may remember when Senator Jeff Sessions made a hilarious comment about this issue during a committee hearing that was pretty popular on YouTube for a couple of days.

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