One of the issues now on the table before the U.S. Supreme Court could help alter one of the largest stigmas affecting the black community: imprisonment.
The astonishing 100-to-1 powder-to-crack sentencing ratio has been furiously debated since the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, back when crack in black communities was still considered an epidemic and the government declared a war on drugs.
The truth is, crack remains a problem of epidemic proportions. It increases the prison population and ruins lives and families.
Since the mid-80s, thousands of black men have been convicted and locked up (many times on first offenses) because they possessed large an amounts of crack under these strict statutes.
It was quickly observed in the drug culture and through prison statistics that whites and Hispanics get busted for powder cocaine three-to-one compared to blacks, but face less jail time under sentencing guidelines for basically the same controlled substance.Currently, there is a 5-year minimum prison penalty for possessing 5 grams of crack (that's more than an eight ball in the street). While for that same 5-year sentence a defendant would need to possess 500 grams of powder cocaine. That's a big, drug dealing, bag of cocaine we're talking about.
Over 5,300 people were sent to jail last year for crack cocaine violations, double the numbers from the early 1990s. But the disparity comes in when you realize that more than 80% of crack offenders are black.
For people like Walter Kimbrough, the Gulf War Veteran who sparked the Supreme Court case, a ruling that would reduce that ratio could mean the difference, on average, of nearly 37 months in prison.
Kimbrough, was found in possession of a weapon and 56 grams of crack, 6 grams over the limit for a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. The judge ruled that the law was too harsh and instead gave a lesser sentence, sparking a firestorm that has made its way to the Supreme Court.
Hopefully this case will finally address one of the most blatant racial discrepancies ever created. Crack derives from cocaine it should be treated so. The government needs to end this inadequate sentencing because it is a mockery of justice and it overwhelmingly ignores those whom it affects ... the black community.
But according to the Washington Post, even if the justices give judges more flexibility under the sentencing guidelines, the mandatory minimums will still stand. Several bills to make those minimums more reasonable are pending in Congress, with bipartisan sponsorship.
There are those who toot, snort (whatever u wanna call it) 'caine who believe they're not as bad off as those on crack. Some people (ignorant ones) still believe it's a drug for those of discriminate taste...and you can't become addicted.
Isn't DENIAL a sign of addiction? Cocaine use, is prevalent among professional, white collar workers.
Excuse me, what color are the collars of lawmakers???
Ok...rest my case.
Have you seen a tooter in cocaine addiction?
Lawdy, they can't carry on a 5 minute conversation w/out having to excuse themselves to the restroom, like 12 x's.
They're fidgety and are always doing something with their nose (sniffing, rubbing it, something!).
We won't even talk about the paranoia.
Now. How is that better than crack??
You betta recognize, we're not the fools you think we are!