Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Marc Mauer On The Crack-Cocaine Disparity

Marc Mauer, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Sentencing Project, and Kara Gotsch have penned an essay for TomPaine.com entitled "Seeking Justice in the Drug War." The piece begins as follows:

Twenty years ago fears about crack cocaine addiction and its associated violent trade plagued urban communities across the country. Newscasters used words like “crisis” and “epidemic”—later shown to be overblown—to describe the impact of crack. The political hysteria that ensued led Congress to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. The law’s mandatory penalties for crack offenses were the harshest ever adopted for low-level drug offenses.

Two decades later, a new consciousness about the impact of the war on drugs, the costs of incarceration to urban communities and the effectiveness of drug treatment has emerged among public officials. At a time of political change in Washington and a renewed interest by the United States Sentencing Commission in addressing the issue, Congress may be on the verge of mending the crack injustice.

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