Thousands of inmates who have been incarcerated for possessing small amounts of cocaine will get a taste of freedom soon due to the Crack Cocaine Disparity Law, according to CNN. The law changes the 100-to-1 disparity between minimum sentences for crack and powder cocaine to 18-to-1.

In the old system, people who were caught with 5 grams of cocaine would receive the same sentence as those caught with 500 grams, 5 years of jail time. Now those sentences will be cut in half for convicts busted for small amounts of drugs. Over 12,000 inmates are eligible for early release.

Michael Nachmanoff, the federal public defender for the Eastern District of Virginia told CNN:

“This really has been one of the great stains on our federal criminal justice system for 20 years or more. This disparity between the punishment for crack cocaine and powder was really unjustified.” 

The law is going into effect now, but it was passed in August 2010.

  • http://@clnmike clnmike

    Look don’t come on this thread and intentionally misinterpret what was written here. Who said anything about making a prison into a resort? I said rehabilitate, as in address the root causes of their behavior teach them alternatives before releasing them into public where they will eventually be released regardless if they are not rehabilitated. See that way the number of repeat offenders goes down.

    No one said anything about giving them a pass for their crime or that it was OK that they did it. What was said that if there was not a market for it than there wouldn’t be anyone to sell it. And is the root of all these types of crimes. It should have been obvious but than again that would require thinking outside of the box thinking instead of the ass backwards thinking of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a change.
    What’s tragic are people who continually buy into a failed system that creates more problems than it solves because it gives them the illusion that they can sleep better at night. Allow me to at this point to SMH.

  • Libby

    @ clnmike

    I did not misinterpret anything. You made a flip comment “if no one is buying no one is selling” as if that is some kind of justification for selling drugs. It’s not and it’s quite ridiculous to suggest that it. You are thinking outside the box, you are sitting in the box making excuses.

  • Whatever

    Another issue at hand is that there will be 12,000 unemployed people released…

  • Mingus

    @Libby have you actually followed the entire process? Do you really think not one of these lawyers and people in the legal system didn’t raise this point? If you do may I suggest google, because TONS of articles on law blogs and in legal journals about this. I know this because being a recent law school graduate, card toting JD – I was required to study many of these arguments.

    As far as rehabilitation is concerned, let me add: In the US penal system we are suppose to have in place a certain thing called rehabilitation for most criminals, i.e., those not on on death row. We tell the public that we will rehabilitate the people who are paying their debt to society, and will be released one day. It’s a proven fact that with crack dealers this was NEVER the goal. So what is the sense of jailing a crack dealer if you’re going to release them without any kind of rehabilitation programs under their belt? All they’re going to do is become repeat offenders. Recidivism has proven to only be reduced in prisoners who spent more time in prison (I believe it was 61+ months). Now, one doesn’t have to wonder why crack dealers (who are often black and latino) received longer sentences. There are TONS of studies, reports, articles on this Libby. I hope you get the chance to really dig into them. It’s not as simple as raising the cocaine levels to match crack. Not when those cocaine dealing offenders aren’t black or Latino. That’s our justice system, the cold hard truth. It’s not as blind as we’d like to think and it’s not as simple as raising the standards of one. Ask these politicians whose sons and daughter’s get caught with cocaine if they want those levels to be on par with crack dealing.

    Black and Latino’s make-up around 34% of the prison population. The US has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. So, no prison isn’t a resort, but there are levels of criminals and for the one’s who can be rehabilitated they should be before they’re unleashed back into society. Otherwise it all becomes cyclic.

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