These acts created “mandatory minimum” sentences for drug offenses, particularly for offenses involving crack cocaine.
Falsely advertised as intending to nab “drug kingpins”, the laws were actually created to mass incarcerate petty drug offenders in predominantly Black communities.
Offenders found with as little as 5 grams of crack cocaine were sentenced to a mandatory 5 years in prison, while offenders with 5 grams of powder cocaine were typically given a plea of “usage” or simple “possession”, both misdemeanors.
Ironically, while studies have shown that an estimated 66 percent of all crack cocaine users are White Americans, 79 percent of those sentenced to prison for crack cocaine are Black males, as predominantly Black communities are profiled for crack distribution more so than predominantly White Communities.
There should be no differences between how crack and powder cocaine are adjudicated and, furthermore, there should be no differences in the way some communities are policed when it comes to the distribution of cocaine.
Overall, the disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine offenses have shown overwhelmingly that President Reagan’s “Anti-Drug Abuse” policies are both unjust and discriminatory.
Former DC Mayor Marion Barry went to federal prison for six months for less crack cocaine than Rep. Radel was found in possession of, even as Barry was not even found with the crack in his personal possession.
In effect, had it been 3.5 grams of crack cocaine, Radel would have had a mandatory felony conviction and spent time in prison.
Is there any doubt that racial disparities exist in cocaine and crack possession & sentencing, which allows White Americans leniency in the courts compared to Black Americans?
That is not “the race card”, but is fact. U.S. Senator Rand concedes this stated fact, even as his GOP peers still refuse to come to terms with the failures of these Acts.
Sen. Paul is co-sponsoring a bill to eliminate mandatory sentencing entirely. It is time, for Reagan’s “Anti Drug Abuse” Acts have only served to create socio-economic despair and perpetuate institutional discrimination.