Thursday, November 3, 2011
Crack vs Cocaine
In August of 2010, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act. Basically this act changed the disparity between minimum sentences for crack and powder cocaine. Prior to this act the disparity between the two was 100-to-1. The Act made the difference 18-to-1. Basically this means prior to the act, someone who was caught with five grams of crack cocaine would receive a mandatory sentence of five years, whereas someone who got caught with five hundred grams of powder cocaine would receive the same mandatory five year sentence. Now someone would have to get caught with twenty-eight grams of crack to receive the mandatory five years, yet still five hundred grams for the same sentence. This is funny to me. In a apples to oranges comparison, it would be like getting a DUI for having 1 jello shot vs 100 beers. As we all know this is not how the government handles alcohol. Summer of 2011, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to make the reduced crack penalties retroactive. By doing so, 12,000 inmates are eligible for early release. Eighteen hundred of them are eligible for immediate release. Tuesday November 1st, many of these prisoners were released because they have already served more than enough time. It is estimated that the act will shave about three years off of the majority of the inmates sentences. This will save taxpayers about twenty-eight thousand dollars, per inmate, per year. This does not affect me, but I find it interesting. I'm sure legislators probably passed this law not because it was the right thing to do, but because the prisons are already so over crowded. So be on the lookout there is sure to be a crackhead or dealer newly released to your neighborhood.