Friday, November 17, 2006

Judge pitches for reduced sentencing on crack

This is sort of good news.
A federal judge who served as a top drug policy adviser to the first President Bush and advocated harsher penalties for crack cocaine crimes said Tuesday the policy had gone too far and was undermining faith in the judicial system.
The disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine, instituted during the mania over the "crack epidemic" decades ago, is ridiculous. It's the same drug in two different forms yet trafficking in 5 grams of cocaine carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence, but it takes 500 grams of cocaine powder to warrant the same sentence.

The Sentencing Commission had recommended reducing the penalities on crack several times and been ignored by more than one administration who still cling to the myth that crack is a more dangerous drug. They're both dangerous when abused but the only real difference is that poor people use crack and middle class users snort powder.

Short of legalizing both of them, which would do a hell of lot more towards solving the problems of addiciton, the sentencing should at the least be equalized.

[hat tip Preston Peet]


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