On Aug 3, 2010, President Obama signed The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 into law.This act was passed to correct a curve injustice African Americans endured under the “crack law” because it treated 100 grams of crack cocaine the same as 1 gram powder cocaine which resulted African Americans being sentenced to very, very long sentences for the same drug (cocaine) but in different forms (crack) versus (powder).
The members of Congress uniformally agreed that the right thing to do is change the ration from 100 to 1 down to 18 to 1. Thus under the Fair Sentencing Act, 18 grams of crack cocaine would carry the same sentence as 1 gram of powder cocaine. The reason for changing the was because members of society of Congress viewed the crack law as targeting on African Americans, and the law displayed a racial and discrimintory overtone. The grave failure by the members of Congress was thast they did not make the Fair Sentencing act of 2010 retroactive. The purpose for changing the crack law was to make the law fair, but if the law does not apply to those prisoners who have suffered the most, then the law should be called the Not-So-Fair-Sentencing-Act of 2010. Currently, there are hundreds of non-violent crack defenders who could benefit from the Fair Sentencing Act if the act is made retroactive. These defendants should not have to continue serving a sentence that is unfair, unjust and unnecesary under a law that was changed because it was deemed racial and discriminatory.
Defendants who are just entering the federal criminal system should not be the only ones to benefit from the Fair Sentencing Act, it should also be extended to those defendants who have been serving crack sentences long before the Fair Sentencing Act was passed.
Just recently, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Rand Paul (R-Ky) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 bill S.619 in the U.S Senate. This bill is not law yet, but fthe purpose of the bill is to allow federal judges to sentence defendants below the mandatory minimum sentence whenever the minimum term does not fufull the goals of punishment. Senators Leahy and Paul introduced this bill because they came to the realization that mandatory minimums are to expensive, have stuffed our federal prisons far beyond their capacity, and are not keeping us (society) safe. The senators also understands that one-size-fits-all justice is not justice at all, and that judges need flexibility to make the punishment fit the crime and the offender. This bill does not have a retroactivity clause in it. Based on the reasons for introducing the bill, Congress should also make this bill retroactive.
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