With all the swastika-carving and interracial marriage-objecting, among other things, it appears the States have regressed back to a state of full blown racism. That's only partially true, because Dick Durbin today introduced some race-blind drug legislation. And it's personal...
It's no secret that the justice system weighs crack and powder cocaine on entirely different scales: crack, which came out of the black (scary!) inner city, garners a far harsher sentence than lily white blow. As WaPo notes, "It takes 100 times as much powdered cocaine as crack to trigger the same mandatory minimum sentence." That's thanks to 1986 legislation that Durbin himself supported. But now, perhaps swept up by all the race talk, Durbin says he made a "mistake" and wants to right the drug wrongs.
The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine has contributed to the imprisonment of African Americans at six times the rate of whites and to the United States' position as the world's leader in incarcerations. It's time for us to act.
And act they will!
Durbin's proposing a bill that requests increase in the amount of crack needed to bring about a mandatory sentence. Don't get us wrong, we think the law needs to be balanced, but wouldn't it make more sense to lower the levels of cocaine needed to get a minimum sentence? (Not that we think that's a good idea, either, but still — increasing crack numbers sort of just rewards drug use of all colors.)
Image via eightprime's flickr.