Crack-Cocaine Sentencing Reform: The Battle Continues

Will Congress ever make the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive?

Posted:
 
prison
Thinkstock Images

Yesterday the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to apply retroactively sentencing reform for crack-cocaine convictions that Congress passed last year, giving more than 12,000 inmates -- 85 percent of whom are black -- the opportunity to go before a judge and seek a reduction in their sentences.

But ColorLines reports that this doesn't mean all eligible people will be freed. Laura Murphy of the American Civil Liberties Union explained, "Not every crack-cocaine offender will have his sentence reduced." Why? While more than 12,000 people -- 96 percent of whom are black and Latino -- are now able to go before a judge to seek a reduction, judges will decide whether to reduce sentences on a case-by-case basis by weighing behavior in prison, the nature of the offense and whether a weapon was involved.

What we really need, Murphy says, is statutory retroactivity. That would take Congress voting to make the entire Fair Sentencing Act retroactive, which would be one step in the direction of what she calls "breaking the addiction this country has to incarceration."

Read more at ColorLines.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.    

 

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.
Must-See Family Attractions
July 29 2014 2:13 PM