The Obama administration has joined the ranks of activist groups arguing that a major aspect of the nation’s drug sentencing laws is unfair to African Americans, specifically poor inner-city residents.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer asked Congress Wednesday to pass legislation ending the so-called 100-to-1 disparity in sentences for crack and powder cocaine crimes.
Under current federal law, someone arrested with just five grams of crack cocaine is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
However, a person would have to be caught with 500 grams of powder cocaine to be subject to the same five year sentence.
Since crack cocaine is more commonly used in inner city areas, critics have longer maintained that the law punishes Blacks for cocaine use at 100 times the severity of suburban whites who are more likely to use powder cocaine.