Statement from ColorOfChange.org On US Sentencing Commission Hearing on Retroactive Relief for People Serving Harsh Sentences for Crack Cocaine Offenses
June 30, 2011
OAKLAND, Calif. – The following is a statement from Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, regarding today's vote by the United States Sentencing Commission to apply the 2010 crack cocaine guideline retroactively. The vote means that approximately 12,000 people currently serving time for federal crack offenses are eligible to have their sentences reduced:
“The U.S. Sentencing Commission took a bold and courageous step with today's vote. More than 9,000 of our members called on the commission last month to do the right thing. The ColorOfChange community is happy to see this monumental step toward eliminating unjust and racially discriminatory drug sentencing laws from our system.”
Last month, ColorOfChange reached out to its members to sign a petition asking the Commission to apply the implementation of the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively. In July 2010, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses to 18:1. The new law didn’t achieve what more than 59,000 ColorOfChange members have called for over a span of two years – the elimination of the disparity altogether. The new law also was not made retroactive. However, the FSA is significant in that our justice system no longer treats crack, which is often found in low-income black communities, as if it were 100 times worse than powder cocaine. Under the previous policy, offenders caught with only five grams of crack cocaine were given a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, while it took 500 grams of powder cocaine to result in the same sentence.
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With more than 750,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest African American online political organization
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