Sentencing Commission Does the Right Thing on Crack
The Open Society Policy Center welcomes the unanimous decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission making sentencing guideline adjustments for federal crack cocaine cases retroactive.

December 12, 2007

The Open Society Policy Center welcomes the unanimous decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission making sentencing guideline adjustments for federal crack cocaine cases retroactive. The Commission received over 33,000 comments from across the country, almost all in favor of retroactivity. Participants of the Washington-based Justice Roundtable urged the Commission to apply a consistent standard in crack cocaine sentencing, regardless of the date of one’s conviction.

“With today’s decision and previous Commission reports strongly recommending cocaine sentencing reform, the Commission has done all that is within its power to do,” stated Nkechi Taifa, Senior Policy Analyst for the Open Society Policy Center and convenor of the Justice Roundtable, a Washington-based network of advocacy organizations whose mission is to advance public safety through reform of the U.S. criminal justice system.

“This week, the Supreme Court broadened judicial discretion to impose reasonable sentences in crack cases. Now, the only stumbling block to complete reform of the 100-to-1 quantity disparity between powder and crack cocaine is the mandatory minimum statute. The ball is in Congress’s court, front and square. The fact that the bipartisan Commission’s vote today was unanimous should not be taken lightly. Congress must expeditiously fix this decades-long crack in our system of justice” said Taifa.

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The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) is a non-partisan organization that engages in policy advocacy on U.S. and International issues, including foreign operations, criminal justice reform, human rights, women’s rights and civil liberties.

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