Common Sense for Drug Policy - Link to home page

Tuesday, August 09, 2022
Search using CSDP's own search tool or use

WWW Common Sense

Home page

About CSDP

PSA Campaign

Check out these other CSDP news pages:
Anti-Drug Media Campaign
Asia and the US Drug War
Bush's Cabinet
Chronic Pain Management
Communities Against the Drug War
Conferences & Events
DARE Admits Failure
Drug Control Alternatives
Families Targeted by Drug War
Federal Drug Control Strategy
Hemp News
Heroin & Heroin Addiction Treatment
Higher Education Act (HEA) Reform
International Reform
Mandatory Minimums
Medical Marijuana
Narco-Funded Terrorism
New Mexico
New York
Pain Management
Police Shootings & Botched Raids
Prop 36
Racial Profiling
Recommended Reading
Research News
South America
Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration
United Kingdom Moves Toward Reform
United Nations: News and Reports

Drug War Facts

Research Archive

Coalition for Medical Marijuana

Managing Chronic Pain

Drug War Distortions

Safety First

Get Active!

Drug Truth Network


Drug Strategy

Drugs and Terror

Recommended Reading

Site Map

link to 
Drug War Facts - page opens in new window
in the Family

Online Drug Library

Research Resources

Contact Common Sense

Click here for more about mandatory minimum sentencing.


House Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee Unanimously Approves "Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009"

On July 22, 2009 Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) released a victorious statement ("Subcommittee Votes to Equalize Cocaine Punishments"), announcing that "the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security unanimously passed H.R. 3245, the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009." If the remainder of their House colleagues and counterparts in the Senate approve the bill as well, all "references to 'cocaine base'" will be "remove[d] from the U.S. Code, effectively treating all cocaine, including crack, the same for sentencing purposes." The bill would - rather than raising penalties for powder cocaine to the same level as those currently in place for crack cocaine or simply ratcheting down the disparity's ratio, as some earlier proposals suggested - entirely equalize crack and powder cocaine sentencing statutes. In short, the Act seeks to all-out "eliminate the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine" that has produced massive racial disparities in sentencing and incarceration rates and undermined faith in the criminal justice system since its enactment in 1986. The bill was originally sponsored by Rep. Robert Scott of Virginia and now boasts 22 co-sponsors - including the sponsors and co-sponsors of other recently proposed legislative measures addressing the issue.

Drug policy and sentencing reform advocates, along with civil rights groups, lauded the decision. Executive Director of the Sentencing Project, Marc Mauer, praised Rep. Scott's courage and "applaud[ed his] leadership" simply for introducing the bill in a July 21 letter to the lawmaker. David Borden, Executive Director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network (or, expressed excitement in a post for the Drug War Chronicle's blog, and Emily Zia of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office characterized the vote as a "historic moment" ("Finally Cracking the Disparity: It's About Time!"). FAMM President Julie Stewart stated that "While the vote may be one small step for this bill, it is one giant step for sentencing sanity." She added, "If Congress eliminates the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, it would not only restore faith in the justice system among the communities most affected by the law, it would reduce prison overcrowding and free up funding for more effective rehabilitation efforts." Stewart also made it clear that "FAMM strongly urges Congress to make the changes retroactive so that people currently serving unjust sentences for crack cocaine can benefit and taxpayers will see even greater savings."

For more about this incredible development, visit the above-mentioned organizations' websites and/or check out Drug War Facts' section on the issue. You can also track the bill yourself via GovTrack.

Back to top

Save This Page to

Home Drug War Facts Public Service
Managing Chronic Pain
Get Active About Common Sense Addict In
The Family
Effective Drug
Control Strategy
Drug War Distortions Recommended

copyright © 2000-2007, Common Sense for Drug Policy
Kevin B. Zeese, President -- Mike Gray, Chairman -- Robert E. Field, Co-Chairman -- Melvin R. Allen, Board Member -- Doug McVay, Director of Research & Editor
1377-C Spencer Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603
tel 717-299-0600 - fax 717-393-4953
Updated: Friday, July 24, 2009   ~   Accessed: 3011 times
Email us