Feature: New, Less Severe Federal Crack Cocaine Sentencing Guidelines Go Into Effect, But Will They Be Retroactive?

Since Congress failed to act by Thursday to stop them, new, less severe federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses promulgated by the US Sentencing Commission are now in effect. That means some 4,000 federal crack defendants each year can now count on marginally shorter sentences. For those serving the longest sentences that could mean years off.

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DEA crack cocaine photo
"We're very encouraged about this reform," said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project. "What the Sentencing Commission is doing is terrific and long overdue."

Under federal drug laws adopted by Congress in the mid-1980s, crack offenders are treated much more severely than powder cocaine offenders. Selling five grams of crack carries a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence, while it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to merit the same treatment.

The Sentencing Commission, whose job it is to set federal sentencing guidelines, responded to the mandatory minimums by adjusting the guidelines to incorporate them, resulting in guideline sentences that were above the mandatory minimums. The Commission also tried, in 1995, to reduce crack cocaine sentences to match those for powder cocaine, a move that prompted Congress to reverse the Commission's recommendation for the first time in its history. Now, in frustration with congressional failure to deal with the rising clamor over the inequities of the federal cocaine laws, the commission has amended the guidelines to lower the base offense levels for crack convictions.

The differences this time are marginal, but will still make a difference for those facing federal crack time. For example, instead of a sentencing range of 12 to 15 years for a certain drug quantity, defendants will face 10 to 12 years.

But the Sentencing Commission has not yet decided whether to make those changes retroactive, a move that, according to a Sentencing Commission impact analysis published in October, could bring relief to nearly 20,000 crack defendants currently behind federal prison bars -- about 85% of them black. It has the authority to do so; the question is whether it has the political will. The commission recently extended the period for public comment on the retroactivity issue from October 1 to November 1, and has scheduled a November 13 public hearing.

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prison dorm
The response has been intense, with the commission reporting that more than a thousand comments have been received -- most of them favoring retroactivity. That is at least in part because groups like Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) have launched a campaign to support the commission's long-held position that the racial disparity in cocaine sentences undermines the objectives of the country's sentencing laws.

It's not just FAMM. The American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Federal Public and Community Defenders, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and numerous other groups have weighed in in support of retroactivity.

"Retroactivity is huge," said Nora Callahan, executive director of the November Coalition, an anti-prohibitionist group that concentrates on drug war prisoners. "If it isn't retroactive, it isn't justice," she said.

"The commission has for years acknowledged the adverse impacts of the current sentencing structure, and that hasn't gone unnoticed," Callahan continued. "The system lacks transparency, consistency, and fairness. That's not the commission's fault, but it is the commission's responsibility to address these issues. Reducing the racial disparities resulting from the crack laws cannot be accomplished without retroactivity. If there is no relief, that will only breed more despair and disrespect for the law," she said.

"I'm encouraged about retroactivity because there have been thousands of comments sent to the commission supporting it," said Mauer. "The commission has both a moral and a practical reason to support retroactivity. In terms of equity issues, there is a strong argument for retroactivity there. The commission has been on record since 1995 recommending reform of the crack penalties, and it seems to us that anyone sentenced since then should certainly be eligible to receive these reductions. If the commission supports retroactivity, it would be entirely consistent with what it has been recommending for years."

The Sentencing Commission's crack sentencing guideline amendment that went into effect this week and its pending decision on retroactivity come as the federal crack laws are under attack from all sides. The Supreme Court is considering them in the recently heard Kimbrough case, and at least three bills to address the crack-powder sentencing disparity are pending in Congress.

"There is more momentum now than at any time since the laws were established two decades ago," said Mauer. "It is that overdue recognition that the laws don't make sense, they're ineffective, and they are having a terrible racial impact. It's very encouraging to see this critique of the crack laws coming from all these different directions. We don't know how it will all play out, but there is a growing consensus that some reform will take place."

Hopefully it will include those already imprisoned under the draconian federal crack laws, some of whom have been behind bars since 1992. If not, the bulging federal prison system could see ominous rumbling like it hasn't seen for a decade -- the last time crack prisoners got their hopes up, only to see them dashed.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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pass the law already

i have a friend in jail due to this crack law and why would it be more years for crack that cocaine if crack comes from cocaine .... its like saying weed seeds give u more time in jail than the actual weed ..... our justice system is mis organized and unfair..... and why does a man who gets manslaughter the actor from prision break he only got 3 yrs in jail for killing a person while drunk... he killed some one weather he didnt mean to or not but because of his actions of drinkin he killed some one a living person with goals and family... and he only gets 3 years..... but my friend is in jail for 16 years cause supposedly he was selling drugs..... conspiracy.... i think thats bull shit.... excuse my language..... all i got to say is i support the change of that crack law reduce there time..... lady 21

I FEEL YOU ON THAT 1

MY EX BOYFRIEND IS SERVING 18 YEARS BECAUSE HE WAS SUPPOSEDLY SELLING CRACK. THEY CALL HIS CONSPIRACY TOO. THEY SAID THAT SOMEBODY HAD TO PAY SINCE THEY COULDNT FIND THE RING LEADER.

My ex is serving life for

My ex is serving life for possesion and conspiracy. They also charged him as a career criminal. In his case too, he paid because they couldn't pin who they really wanted, and used him as an example. I feel where your coming from.

NEWSFLASH!!!!!

im still misconstrued to the fact that the courts are sentencing any of these cases more than ten years. Obviously, they have employed an act of bad choices.... but that's all. Lets continue to refom our environment by helping, not hendering. Use all citizens to ther full potential. We can't shape America by barring unnecessarily. Put them in some classes and use their marketing and environmental skills. Come on, havent you heard that whoppings aren't the only, or even best form of discipline?????? *A defendants Love*

JUSTICE!!!!!!

THERE IS NO JUSTICE...THE LOVE OF MY LIFE IS SERVING A 25 YR SENT FOR CRACK COCAINE...AND JUS MADE 26... THATS SOMEONES LIFE! A LIFE BEING TOOK FROM HIS FAMILY CHILDREN. AND LOVED ONES, NEVER TO EXPERIENCE THE BEST YEARS OF HIS LIFE ALL BECAUSE THIS MAN DID WHAT HE COULD DO TO PROVIDE FOR THE ONES WHO DEPENDENT ON HIM... HIS FATHER WAS IN PRISON, HIS BROTHER WAS IN PRISON, MOUTHS NEEDED TO BE FEED, BILLS NEEDED TO BE PAID, JOB OPPURTUNITIES, OR CHOICES VERY SLIM WHEN YOU HAD TO GIVE UP YOUR DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS, GIVE THEM ALL UP BECAUSE YOU GOTTA GROW UP AND HELP MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY HAS SOMEWHERE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT..HALF OF THESE PEOPLE , HUMANS THAT ARE LOCKED AWAY LIKE ANIMALS, JUST WANTED THE BEST AND DIDNT WANT TO STRUGGLE THE WAY THEY SEEN THERE OWN FOLKS STRUGGLING GROWING UP. 85% OF THE CRACK DEF ARE BLACK. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY FAMILYS ARE AFFECTED BY THIS, ITS JUST GONNA REPEAT ITSELF IN ARE YOUNGER GENERATIONS, SO MANY OF THERE FATHERS AND EVEN MOTHERS GONE AWAY DAMN NEAR LIKE THERE DEAD. THEY GOTTA SURVIVE TO.. AND ITS JUST NOT THAT EASY.I SAY INSTEAD OF GIVING CRACK DEF SUCH A RIDICOULS SENT, TRY TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY SO THERE ARE BETTER OPTIONS AND RESOURCES, AND OPPURTUNITIES. BETTER PAYING JOBS, BETTER PROGRAMS TO KEEP KIDS IN SCHOOL AND GO TO COLLEGE EVEN IF THEY HAD TO HELP AT HOME BECAUSE OF ABSENCE OF A PARENT.. PEOPLE THAT ARE DEDICATED TO TRY TO HELP THE COMMUNITY.. LETS DO SOMETHING POSTIVE, NOT DEVASTATING...

your comment

I commend u on your comment because i too have a loved one that is serving a 22 year sentence for crack and it is rediculous!! And people dont understand when u get pushed up and u have children and u r faced being on the streets that "hustle mentality" is gonna kick in if u are any kind of parent... Who can stomach to watch there children hungry or dont have nowhere to live??. And as for these folks talking negative about this if ur such a concerned citizen when u see people going through these struggles help them if it aint nothing but 10$ a pack of meat, a word of incouragement u know???

crack sentences

i am shocked by your sentencing guidelines,how can you give such a harsh sentence to an offender on crack than an impaired driver injuring an innocent person is beyond my belief. alcohol causes far more damage to society than crack.

Crack Sentancing

I beleive that crack offenders should spend just as much time in jail as powder cocaine offenders.
With the communities that I have been in, I have seen the destruction that crack cocaine brings. For one thing,crack is very much more addictive then powder cocaine and users will do anything to get more when they run out. Such as steal, beg, sell anything they own and prostitute. Crack users will eventually fall lower then the gutter without help.
I understand that without cocaine, you cannot make crack so I think that users should defenitly get less jail time and more time in rehab.
The dealers of powder and crack cocaine should be sentanced for as much time as possible because of the destruction of communites and families that they bring with them.

Malkavian's picture

The big picture

You say that (crack) cocaine causes the "destruction of communites and families" (isn't that a nice prohibitionist phrase being parroted here?).

I'm sure it sometimes destroys the person on the drug and sometimes damages the family unit he or she comes from. But will you reach any of your anti-drug goals with a Prohibitionist approach?

Have you even begun to factor in the damage it does to individuals, families and communities when a family unit becomes prison widowed and a child becomes prison orphaned? Do you even factor in the destruction that seizures/forfeitures cause?

Analytically it might also be interesting if you broke the economic crime and prostitution damages into proper parts. One part is the amount of crime that would be present under a legalization-regulation regime, and the other is the excess crime that Prohibition causes through inflated prices.

Also, you might wanna factor in - or analytically break up - the crime figures in a community. A good deal of that is caused by the Prohibition that has itself created the black market which logically needs to be enforced with violence because it is outside normal legislated society.

The "drug problem" is, properly stated, a health and social problem, But everyone is trying to solve these problems AS IF they were crimes. It makes no sense and that's why we have all these really bad secondary effects that are indeed causing the destruction of individuals (who ought to be FREE), families and communities.

To Malkavian

Bravo... Thank you so much for you educated insight and response. You could not have said it better...

-Rita

Get your facts straight before mouthing off...

Crack Myths

Myth #1: Children whose mothers smoked crack during gestation are neurologically damaged. They don't develop emotionally or intellectually.

Fact: The assertions claiming that children who have been exposed to crack cocaine before birth are permanently damaged are unsubstantiated. Numerous studies have shown that there is very little conclusive evidence to support the "crack baby" myth. The pervasive nature of this myth makes it extremely difficult for babies who have been exposed to crack to receive adequate medical attention. As a result, there has been a recent push in the medical community to combat the "crack baby" myth.

___________

Myth #2: Crack is purer than powder cocaine, and is more potent.

Fact: There is no pharmacological difference between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Crack cocaine is simply powder cocaine which has been converted into a solid "rock" form that may be smoked. The effects of smoking crack cocaine may be more intense, but this is a result of the mode of ingestion rather than the drug's purity. Regardless, it is difficult to rationalize the extreme sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine.

Source:
Hatsukami, D. and Fischman, M. Crack cocaine and cocaine hydrochloride: are the differences myths or reality?. Journal of the American Medical Association (November 1996).

___________

Myth #3: To use crack once can lead to instant addiction.

Fact: While crack cocaine is addictive, it is extremely unlikely that one would become addicted after one use. 2004 statistics from the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 7,840,000 (3.3%) of Americans have smoked crack cocaine during their lifetime. However, only 467,000 (.2%) of Americans reported smoking crack cocaine in the last 30 days. If crack was instantaneously addictive, the number of recent users would be much larger.

Source:
SAMHSA. Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables.

___________

Myth #4: Crack is much more addictive than powder cocaine.

Fact: There is very little evidence to support the claims that crack is more addictive than cocaine. According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse in 2004 of Americans age 12 and older, 5.9% of individuals who had ever tried cocaine went on to be "current users" (reported use within the past 30 days). The same statistic for crack use was also 5.9%. These numbers show no statistical difference in the tendency towards the future use of cocaine and crack.

Source:
Reinerman, C. and Levine H., Crack in America. University of California Press (September 1997).
2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings.

___________

Myth #5: Crack use is much more dangerous than powder and kills its users more often.

Fact: The misuse of any drug (legal or illegal) may be detrimental to the health of an individual. However, it is erroneous to claim that the use of crack cocaine alone is a major cause of death. In fact, in 2000 the percentage of deaths attributed to ALL illegal drugs was .7%. In comparison, 435,000 deaths (18.1%) were caused by tobacco in the same year. Claims that crack use is a leading cause of death are, for the most part, unsubstantiated.

Source:
Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000. American Medical Association (2004).

___________

Myth #6: Crack is used almost exclusively by Blacks and is a special plague of the Black community.

Fact: While often characterized as a drug of the Black community, 60% of individuals who have used crack in the last month are White. White crack users also account for 66% of individuals who have ever used crack in their lifetime. Simply stated, the majority of crack users are White.
Despite this reality, 80% of people arrested for crack offenses in 2002 were Black. Consequently, a disproportionate number of Black crack offenders face the harsh mandatory minimums associated with crack convictions.

Source:
SAMHSA. Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics, 2003. Table 1.4.

___________

Myth #7: Crack use leads to violence much more than the use of other drugs.

Fact: The claims that crack induces violence are grossly exaggerated. Research has shown that crack use does not necessarily result in violent behavior. Most of the violence related to crack is a result of the drug's status as an illegal substance. Violence is rarely a result of the pharmacological effects of the drug, and is most often attributed to the violent nature of the illegal drug market.

Source:
Reinerman, C. and Levine H., Crack in America. University of California Press (September 1997).

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stupidity

That does'nt make sense at all, crack is not the only thing that's tearing up communities. People with mentalities like yours is way the communities are torn up.You have heroin, crystal meth, and different types of prescribed drugs that have torn up the community; what about those? Do some research and see how the drugs are getting into the community, it's far more bigger than you could imagine.

Disagree

I think what ever form of cocaine the jail time should be the same. As for the destruction of communities, how do think drugs are getting in the communities of America. It is all a conspiracy by the government. What blacks do you know have the power and money to get drugs in the US? Drugs are coming into this country through customs. All the technology the US has, they can detect a airplane when it is flying into airspace that it shouldn't be flying in. How can you not detect a airplane full of cocaine or on our waterways a boat load of cocaine. The government knows what is going on and it is a conspiracy so everyone can get paid. People that get charges need a lawyer so the lawyer will get paid also the judges and the state will get paid as well because of the imposed fines that are given to the individual when convicted. The prison systems are getting because you have to buy everything off of commissary. Back in the old days you could by the things that was needed and send to the prisons. Now you can't anymore. The prices that prisoners are being charged for things are ridiculous. 1 pair of boxers cost about $4.00 when you can go to Walmart and get a 3 pack pair for about $7.00 and send in to the prison. If a person gets locked up for 20 years who do think will be paying for the prisoner for the next 20 years while they are locked up, the taxpayers. A dealer and an addict go hand in hand. The addict should get just as much time as the dealer as well. Everyone is responsible for their own actions and nobody put a gun to the addict and forced that person to smoke crack and the same for the dealer to sell. Also for keeping someone incarcerated for x amount of years, How can a person get rehabilitated if there are not enough programs or programs at all in the prison system for the incarcerated person to be rehabilitated. What can a person do with their life if they go in the system at age 20 and get 20 to 40 years suppose to do upon their release. When those that are convicted have been released, they have a stike against them in the job market because of their conviction. And just because someone sells drugs, that doesn't mean they are bad people. I know a few personally and they are good people. All people should be treated fairly and equally.

Crack Sentencing

You're an asshole! Yes people make mistakes selling drugs but you do not know what brought them to this. No on life is perfect and you talk like you have never made an mistake. I believe people should have an 2nd chance at life with their kids to try to do right. Now if they get out and do it agian then they deserve to be locked up without another chance. No, no one should get more time for selling crack or powder for killing someone whether it was drunk driving or with a gun. Who in the hell made them king and in charge of whether someone live or die.

i agree,everyone deserve a

i agree,everyone deserve a 2cd chance at life and everyone is entitle to make mistakes,cuz how else would u learn from it if you dont make them,i think that our system sucks whether its state time or federal time,cuz you can get 20 to life in prisons for drugs but alot of people who was found guilty of murder gets either the same time or if not less time than drug dealers,where's the justice in that.

Where's the Justice?

Just a quick tid-bit; Do any of you people realize, or does any of the "non-drug-dealing" or "friends" of people who use or sell drugs know that crack is actually LESS potent than powder cocaine???????

Yes people, Crack is almost 1/2 if not 3/4 baking soda and 1/2 to 1/4 cocaine. As I have just got a lesson in Crack Cocaine 101!! Yes, people are getting high on something that can be bought at ANY store from a convenience store, grocery store or Sam's club type of store. It is LESS potentate and it caries twice to three times the sentence that powder does. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE???????????

As far as Crack and African-American men are concern, I have to say this; I have never been one to believe that African-Americans have it so bad and they are treated un-fair, but since I have been with my husband (who by the way is African-American) I have seen more racial things happen to him than any other man I have had a relationship with. I have dated men from all types of ethnic backgrounds and other African-American men with lighter skin color and they were not as harassed as my darker skinned husband has been harassed. I am a TRUE believer in the harsher treatment and sentencing for African-American's, because statistics show that African-American men receive much longer sentences than that of white men or Hispanic men. It is my opinion and belief that it is because the majority of people that sell crack are African American. Ask yourself this, where are you always more likely to find crack cocaine?? Answer - the GHETTO. Who is more likely to live and work out of the GHETTO? Answer – African American men!!! Where are you more likely to find powder cocaine? Answer - More predominate White neighborhoods. I am not naive, I know you can find any drug anywhere, but let’s be honest, most drugs are found in the lower income neighborhoods and you are more likely to find a vast area of different drug types in theses neighborhoods. My belief of why you can find the drugs there is because the statistics have shown that the lower income populations of Americans are more likely to inhabit these neighborhoods vs. the upper-class population, and lets’ face it, addictive people are more likely to live closer to where they can get it as well as afford it!!!

Look - I realize that a lot of people will read this and say, "how is this person to say all of this", my answer is simply this, my husband is now serving 8+ years in a federal prison for "conspiracy to commit sales and distribution of crack cocaine" and my brother-in-law who set my husband up only received 5 1/2 years for selling a LARGE amount of crack. You tell me where is the justice in that?? My husband had learned of his brothers’ “new career” and was going to be “his brothers’ keeper” and save him. Instead my husband was convicted of making a telephone call. My husband referred to what his brother was doing and told him he would do whatever it took to help him out of it, even giving him the money to pay any money he owed and now he has been stripped from his loving family and thrown in a prison for 7+ years of his life. What really makes me sick about it all is learning about the drug and learning that it has almost little or no illegal drug in it. Then also learning that he could have been selling kilos of a powder substance and got less than half the time.

You tell me what our government is thinking. It takes over $50k a year to keep my husband there for a phone call!!!!!!!! You tell me, where’s the JUSTICE in that? YES, they need to retro-active this law IMMEDIATELY if not sooner!!!!!

reply to~ where's the justice~

your message really touched me. and i am also wanting to say sorry about what has happened to you and your family. my fiance and father of my 2 children is currently waiting on his sentencing for the whole crack ordeal. i too think that the rules and sentences they have are just f-in bullshit! how could people let killers and molesters out on less time than ones that only do what they have lived around or been raised around. yes people all make mistakes, but why make someone lose out on their freedom for only trying to support a family the best way they know how. i understand we all pay for our wrong doings but they could give us a break for real. 2 years isn't bad but 5-15! that's just insane! who the hell comes up with this shit! needless to say the ones that are giving the sentencings out, are also the ones doing the shit behind closed doors. i just hope and pray that our loved ones return home sooner than later. it's a shitty feeling to be a single parent and have to explain to the kids where their daddy is and not being able to tell them when he'll be home. i'm trying to stay strong for him. i hope you do the same for yours. even if they don't show it. it does mean alot them. God Bless~

no more daddys little girl

The father of my 1 month old baby is bout to get 10 to 15 years in prison. They just took a father from my daughter and they took a family from us. They dont understood that my child has to live without a father in her life for 10 years. She cant be daddys little girl or daddys little princess and its all thanks to the fucked up laws they diastored my family and me and my daughter life.

Sorry to hear that

I am sorry to hear that you baby has to live without her father. Couldn't imagine how I would have felt without my father....I am a 32 year old married father of two and still longs to see my dad! But the truth is that although the system is what it is, your man made some bad choices that put his family in the situation that you are currently in. We have to teach our people how to make choices that will keep our families together instead of destroying them. God bless and hope that help will come to you soon.

Unfair

The father of my 18 year old son has been in prison for the past 13 years under the Crack Law for supposedly selling crack. He was originally sentenced to 10 years but because the system made a deal with two other " drug dealers" he was given 22 years all because two people made a deal to testify against him they got half of thier time taken off. Thats bullshit these men are out enjoying their life with their family while my son's father has his freedom and family takin away from him because of a boggis testimony. ...... The crack law needs to become retroactive to give some relief to the family's that need it . ... A MURDER OR CHILD MOLESTER GETS LESS TIME THAN A CRACK DEALER ! Would the government even be ruling on this if 85% of the people involved in this were white "doubt that " !

I feel you

I feel you on this, a friend of mine has been locked up since 1998. He is locked up in the fed system and he was sentenced to LIFE. And he was never caught with any drugs at all.

I hear U

My man is locked up for 10 years and 11 months. caught up in that conspiracy shit. had no criminal history, had no drugs on him or in the house, and had no property to seize. but the government stated that he and his cousin could be Fortune 500 company owners. How? Neither one of them had a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. The Conspriacy law is bullshit and half of the African- American men are locked up on that trumped up charge. When is it gonna stop?

April

MY MAN ALSO

My mas was sentence to 12yrs 7mnts he will do 10 yrs 11mnths our baby was 3 mnts. I thought I would die. They claimed he had crack but the lab report stated powder the system is so F***ed up. They give them all that time then send them so far from home. The government system is set up so these people families will turn their backs on them. Why do crack get do much more time then all other drug. Meth is white mans drug and that's why they are not dishing as much time out for that as they are crack considering crack is targeted towards blacks. Then the damn government have them sign this f***ed up plea giving up all their rights so they can't appeal it. It be so errors in those case they don't want them to get back in court because they know it could get turned around and all the prosecutor, judges, appealit court, and supreme court all work together. To keep them caged in like slaves. Then the have the asshole guards there that threat them less than human. It should be some limit to the shit with how far them damn CO's can go instead they throw the inmates in the hole for standing up for them selves. They are men just like them guards are and they need to act like. You give respect to get respect.

That is so true my husband

That is so true my husband caught a life sentence for being with a so-call friend who already had a indictment on him. My husband was in a 2yr investigation for 3hours and didn't have no clue of what was taking place. He refused to cop out and took it to trial and the friend who is now a co-defendent testified on him. They gave him a life sentence for being a friend to a co-defendent, and 8 people testified and no one conspired against him, didn't even know him. But the system is corrupted and the govt. makes money on keeping these men are locked up but society pays for this error that the govt. thinks they are helping get crime off the street, but in fact they hurt society and impact no only, blacks,and latino but it hurts the ones with their nose up in the air society groups because now their sons and daughters are the buyers . Thats is why the prisons are now becoming super prison. Change has to come and if not for Obama then someone has to see the unjust this country puts on their people, and we are always in someone elses country trying to straighten out something. START WITH USA FIRST then take the lesson you learn to help others.

Unjust System

I personally feel that the hole system is fucked up. From the sentencing,police,probation and informants. In 1999 the F.B.I came to my house ( which I shared with my boyfriend). They had no search warrant or probable cause. They knocked on the door dressed in regular clothes and pushed me out the way ( I was pregnant and due any day). They came in and refused to leave. They were looking for my boyfriend concerning someone he knew, who was fighting a case. We kept telling them to leave and they refused. They begin searching our house without a warrant. When I told them they can't do that they said " Who do you think a judge is going to believe me or a known criminal". I was taken back by disbelief. Last year my sons father just got out of jail. He spent 6 years in a Federal jail. They found 82 grams, but since they didn't have a search warrant they offered him a plea. He filed a motion to have the evidence suppressed, but if he would have lost he could have gotten longer. The F.B.I were saying I invited them in and that my boyfriend gave them consent to search. That was all bullshit. Actually, I wanted to slap the shit out of him for pushing me down. Since that experience I no longer trust any form of law enforcement, and whenever I'm pulled over I record the conversation with my camara phone. Instead of me just talking about my situation I decide to do something about it. I am a Law student and soon will have my degree. I plan on using my education to help those who are mistreated and rights are violated. Instead of say " thats messed up" I plan on making a difference. I am very proud of myself and I accomplished this as being a single mother. Now, as far as the sentencing guidelines it needs to be retroactive NOW. It is beyond unfair. I have a relative who was set up by an informant ( white male) who was caught with 10 pounds of marijuana. The informant was released and he set my brother up. My brother was caught with 5 grams of crack cocaine and sentenced to 5 years in jail. My brother has never been to jail in his life and has no criminal history. The time he received is crazy. Less than a month after the informant was caught with 10 pounds of weed he killed his twelve year-old nephew by giving him bad drugs. Now who's responsible for that? I feel the F.B.I is at falt for releasing him..... He was out for a long time till her was arrested for murder. For my brother pre-sentence his probation officer called the informant to get his life story. Now what type of crap is that? everything he said was a lie and the judge repeated it at his sentencing. He said my brother dropped out of school in the eigth grade etc.. That is a lie, my brother graduated from Olivet College with a degree in business. Now why didn't his probation officer know that? and why was she allowed to give the judge false information? The hole system needs to do their job and STEP UP.

blessed Iam

I agree with everything you are saying my husband IS serving some time that he shouln't be doing. now he was charged with drugs but didn't do any of It. Now the shooting of the undercover officers he did do but didn't know they was undercover ,but the young man he was with did . now my husband serving time for someone else mess. now man husband did plead guily for the gun and shooting of the undercover officers .But due to he was with the young man on the night of the shooting he was later charge with everything the young man did months before my husband got with him. now that not right But like I said god will work It out .please call lets see IF we can get our onh bills passed for people like our love ones .for later In life my name Is blessed one of my # is 910-4841013 please call.Any everything will be alright god said and I believe It.

Jesus believe in second chances so why dont u?

I have a friend that has been sentence for 22yrs for drug charges which i fill like that is not fair even though he made a wrong decision but we all make wrong decison before in our life but we learn by them he never killed anyone he was trying to support his family but because he had a been to jail before for diff reason know one wants to give a brother a job cause they think because u mess up one time u going to continue but thats not all ways the case and just like jesus has mercy on us we should have mercy some at least reasonable mercy on one another justice is not right a drunk driver can get less yrs killing someone then a person getting caught with drugs where is the justice well I will continue to pray for our judges and commissoners that God touch there heart and have mercy on our mens cause i know we all been in something and God had mercy on us and gave us another chance so we should exchange the favor may God continue to bless and keep all of u.

GOD DOES FORGIVE BUT NOT THE GOVT.

So true but it is hard to see that in this counrty when they are taking GOD out of everything. God forgives sinners over and over yet men(FED GOVT) and COURT SYSTEMS want to prosecute, convict you and punish you by taking your life over hearsay. They are not our gods yet they put theirself in our lives in a way to where you have to LIE or FRY because they never have their cases together, their evedience is shitty or lack of the biggiest part of the investigation but hell we will make you snitch on someone which this part I don't get: "you get on the stand under OATH to tell the true and no that you are only doing this to get time off," and the judge sitting there knowing you are confidential informant and allowed these prosecuters and half ass fed agents to sat there and hi-five each other on a guilty conviction that you didn't even have all the eveidence for. And we sat in church on sunday morning getting forgiveness for our "SINS" for wrongly convicted someone or giving someone a (LIFE SENTENCE) for a 5 or 10 yrs conspiracy charge. The Government is truly FUCK UP

Crack Law

I work in a Federal Prison...........change the Law & make it retroactive.

Just have a heart

My man has been locked up for 3 and a half years due to conspiracy and an illegal search by his P.O. He has been given 7 years for this. i understand that he made some bad decisions but people learn and people also change. retroact the crack law and give us a chance to be a family!

convicted because i wouldn't set someone up

It is sad how the law work, because you won't set someone else up, they will put you in jail. One judge&lawyer said keep making me rich, we split the money among ourselves,That is sad. you take 15-20 yrs from a person for using drugs. Time that you have service on no parole or probatin finish all your time trying start your life over. and because someone said that you are doing this you go and arrest them. this make me so sick. Even the judges said this man don't know what he has agree to . this young man got 10-20year. because someone said that he have drugs, they let the other person go which he were the one have the drugs. The other person didn't have anything . Police said i don't like you. you going anyway. it was very sad to see this young man beigh taking form his little son. It is more to this i just can't tell it all
very concern:

THANK GOD

I FEEL THAT THIS CHANGE IS A BLESSING being a child of someone who has been imprisoned for over 16 years on a 35 year sentence for crack chareges. so i feel that it is long overdue there are so many children living without their parents due to cruel and unusual sentencing .IM rejoicing right now , now my mother has the chance to be released.

Unfair Law!!!

My husband is now serving 5 years and 6 months in a federal prison for drugs that weren't even his. The police were pounding on our door at like 6am and his brother (who was staying with us) came running through our house and dumped 2 ounces of crack in our toilet, didn't flush just dumped. Well the police decided to take both my husband and his brother to jail and come monday morning his brother had an attorney there and they got his charges dismissed, so now my husband has to sit in jail for his brothers shit, and on top of all of his own mother was more worried about his brother because he has kids even though his brother told her what he did! What about my husbands kids what about our baby that was born 9 days before he went to jail?!!!!
The law is so unfair that they didn't even want to hear the truth, they didn't care all they seen was another black man in jail!!

Prayer Changes Things

I'm a African American Female from Omaha, NE, who has grown up and still lives in a poverty stricken community. Unfortunately I also have family and friends who are serving time for distrubution of crack cocaine. It hurts and I think about them often. The majority are uneducated and there are so many more excuses I can give as to why our African American Brotheres and Sisters choose to destroy ourselves, family and friends. The Bible tells us to obey the laws of the land, and we are all guilty of breaking the law in some type a way, whether it be simply by not wearing our seatbelts, going 5mph over the recommended speed limit we are guilty, but I agree that sometimes the consequences of the crime do more damage to the community and to the families that are now left fatherless, motherless etc. I serve a God that also has controll over the justice system, so I pray for you and you pray for me and watch God change things. In the mean time lets make a vow to our siblinggs, children and our community that we will the better Mentors.

It's about time

I thank God for answering my prayers. My brother is in Federal prison serving 31 years for drug related charges in which he has completed about 14 years. I could never understand how one could get so much time for the intent to sell when people get far let time for killing someone. All our black men for locked up and many families are torned apart. I just thank the Lord for answering alot of prayers and hope that our black men who have been locked up for so long can put back together what's left of their lives and make a new start in the right direction.

crack-cocaine law

I feel that this law should have been passed a long time ago. I also feel that the conspiracy law is unfair. My boyfriend got 10 years and 11 months behind some he-say she say bullshit. He had no criminal record and was a student in college majoring in business administration. He was not caught with any drugs or any thing in that nature and he went to trial and lost all because of the testimony of one witness. That is unfair and it makes no sense. They gave him the minimum sentence which is 10 years or 131 months becauese he went to trial and lost and wasted the governments time. That is some bullshit. Rapists and murders get less time in some cases and I don't see how that is possible. The Conspiracy law is a trap and is designed so that anyone that is suspected of selling drugs, whether you are or are not, will automatically serve time......

crack/cocaine

Isn't it amazing that they keep incarcerating crack/cocaine dealers, regardless of who receives more time, but ther never seems to be a big dent in breaking down the ring of steet drug sales. Maybe if more time and money was spent on catching the bigger fish in the ocean(suppliers) we might see a difference. My ex received 27 yrs. He has served 10 and since he's been gone nothing has changed the streets.

blessed I am

Hi my husband is serving time for a gun charge ,and a so called crack charged .which he never had any drugs but the young man he was with was dealing with some undercover officers.And when he found out two months later they was undercover officers he gets mad and say hes going to get them back for trying to sit him up.H e than sees my husband getting out of his car and walks over to him and say man you want to make some money and my husband beening 18 yrs old say yes .he takes him to his home and say you take the gun and he did and it started their he and the undercover officers pass shoots and the both was shoot from each others. due to that my husband was with the young man when the shoot out happened he was later charged with everything the other young man did months ago. Now don't get me wrong ny husband knows he was guilty for the gun and the shooting of the officers ,and he plead guilty of the gun charge,but no drug charges because he didn't know anything about any drug deals they had did . he as giving 17yrs Thats not right .The paper work shows and says my husband didn't make any deals or seal them anything .he had a court appointed lawyer .but I have god that can and will do all things. I prayed and asked god to make they law retro so my husband can come home now and god don,t haldf do things he will so all of our preyers through.

Mandatory Crack Cocaine Laws Are Bogus

I am glad that my 25 year old son in law got caught dealing drugs, he truly needed a wake up call. Although I know he did wrong, the state has done 10 times worst. The Warrant was not legal under state law, there was NEVER a drug deal or a witness to say that he possessed drugs in the house. When they got the warrant, they pulled my daughter and son in law over at 7 am on their way to work and brought them back home where they proceeded to search the house. They found 5.1 grams of crack, and 1 ounce of weed, with 30 grams of powder cocaine. Also in another room under 50 boxes was an old military rifle that belonged to me. The thing was in duffel bag inside a moving box. The state had no case and the judge reamed them a new asshole for lying to the justice to get the warrant, she was going to dismiss the case when the state talked the feds into taking it. Under federal law to get a warrant the Cop only had to say he truly believes there to be illegal activity taking place where ever it may be and they consider that enough evidence to find the warrant good. I know he was wrong and he deserves some penalty but Minimum Mandatory 5 Years with no prior and a steady job for 7 years and a family. Thats Bull Shit. I feel for all of the families and friends of those who made a mistake and are paying out the ass for it. Federal Prison is a Day Care for these guys. The only thing you don't get is Laid. Other than that you have free run of the place with buffet style breakfast and dinners including Lobster, Prime Rib, and much more. I say reduce their sentences to a year and make them live off peanut butter and jelly, Toast and coffee and the bare essentials for that year they will learn their lesson a lot quicker and won't want to go back again. This would save 250 Thousand dollars a year per Federal Prisoner. What do we need to do to get these asshole to wake up and get rid of the Mandatory time?

Time

Any body, if a person was caught with 6 grams of cocaine while on state parole, i'm guessing, have priors, caught a dui also, how much time would that person get?

synchronous77@aol.com

drugs

I have taught my children never to take drugs,sell drugs or have any thing to do with drugs since they were able to under stand.I know and realize how poor people in the getto could be involved with drugs just by trying to feed thier children and putting a roof over their heads.I am not rich by any means.infact,I have just lost my business of 46 years after the state highway constuction block off my restaraunt for 18 months.I now live on s/s and have cancer,but I never did understand how our government could not help our poor people get a better life by spending more money on preventing poverty,which would bring people out of the getto and help them get their lives in order,then spending it on trying to stop drugs from getting in this country.I do believe that every one needs a second and even a third chance,but the game should end after the third chance. My advice to those of you that have lost your spouses to a jail sentence,protect your children howerver you can,and teach them that in this world,they can not fight the law wether the laws are bad or good,and teach them a way of life,show them something different. One thing to show them would be GOD. DOESN`T IT SEEM FUNNY TO YOU HOW A PERSON IN JAIL FOR A LONG TIME ALWAYS COMES TO GOD? Trust in him,believe in him,but do it before your are put in jail.

Likely Sentence??

Hi,

can anyone advise what the likely sentencing recommendation will be for someone who was convicted for possession of crack 5 years ago, very small amount.... no probation, and a fine for that...

recently charged with same offense - no other charges in past 5 years....

any thoughts what will likely happen?? (connecticut)

Crack Law

My husband is in prison right now waiting on them to past this law so he can come home. Passing this law will bring our family back together. My baby have been gone for 8 years. sOON AS THEY PASS THE LAW HE WILL BE RELEASED IMMEDIATELY SO THE WAIT IS HOPEFULLY ALMOST OVER

my husband is also locked up

my husband is also locked up and is waiting for this law to come threw,So that he can come home to his 5 kids,wife.I always left his time with GOD he can bring you out of anything.Just keep praying and believeing and watch how GOD move.May GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

when does thiss law go in

when does thiss law go in effect ... anyone????

G~n~M<3

I hope to GOD This Goes Threw My Future Husband Is In Jail And Needs This More Then Anything Im Jus Going To Keep Praying Like I Have And Leave Everything In His Hands GOD BLESS EVERYONE That Also Is Waiting For This To Pass... Baby Can't Wait To See You..>muahzzZ!!

My boyfriend and father of my

My boyfriend and father of my 4 kids was sentenced to 5 years one month ago. I am the one who has to watch my kids cry every tine we leave the jail. Yes he made a mistake but in his 30 years of a hard life he has never been in trouble before and one mistake takes him away for 5 years. The judge even looked at him and said "I don't think you deserve 5 years but that's what I have to give you but when the new law comes you will be the first back in my court" and now it wont even help him this is not fair. We miss you daddy

All I have to say is my daddy

All I have to say is my daddy is in prison for trafficking cocaine. Whether it was hard or soft I don't know. I am an intelligent 16 year old, and even I know that these people who sell, traffic, or do these drugs take it upon themselves to do it. Therefore they have to reap the consequences for their actions. Now I am very ready for my daddy to come home, but at least while he's there he can find an alternative route other than trafficking drugs. He will learn more and even experience more, so that when he does come home, reality and society won't hit him as hard. The law won't go into effect overnight and if a person doesn't meet the criteria, they will not be effected AT ALL! So be patient, let these men learn something, and most of all thank GOD for Obama

The criminal laws suck

I THINK IT'S SAD AND A SHAME HOW THEY GIVE DRUG DEALER'S MORE TIME THAN MURDER'S I MEAN WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN ALL THAT? MY BOYFRIEND IS AWAITING TRIAL TO BE SENTENCE ALL BCUZ OF WORD OF MOUTH NOT BCUZ HE WAS CAUGHT HANDED BUT BCUZ SOMEBODY WROTE STATEMENTS ON HIM AND HE NEVER BEEN TO PRISON BEFORE NO FELONS NO NOTHING SO ALL I CAN DO IS SHAKE MY HEAD AND PRAY THAT THERE IS A GOD SOMEWHERE WHICH I KNOW IT IS :) ALL I CAN DO IS WAIT ON HIM BCUZ I KNOW THAT HE WIIL DEAL WITH THE SYSTEM SMH IT REALLY IS SAD BCUZ THEY ARE TAKING THESE PEOPLE FROM THERE FAMLIES AND HOMES. I LOOK AT THE SYSTEM SO DIFFRENT NOW I LOOK DOWN ON THEM BCUZ THEY SO SORRY WHERE IS THE LOVE? WHERE IS THE SECOND CHANCES I LOVE AND MISS MY FUTURE HUSBAND SO MUCH :( AND ALTHOUGH THE DEVIL IS BUSY I KNOW GOD WILL WIN AT THE END I ASK MYSELF WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE OTHER'S WHO GIVES MAN RIGHT TO SENTENCE PEOPLE FOR THINGS THAT THEY HAVE NO CONTROL OVER I MEAN HOW DID IT GET HERE? I DON'T KNOW TOO MANY BLACK PEOPLE WHO HAVE BOATS AND PLANES COME ON JUSTICE SYSTEM WAKE UP BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE OR BEFORE IT'S YOUR CHILD OR YOUR MOM OR DAD OR BROTHER OR SISTER I MEAN REALITY HAS TO SET IN ONE DAY GIVE THESE PEOPLE ANOTHER CHANCE TRY TO HELP THEM INSTEAD OF HURTING THEM AND THERE FAMILIES AND GET RID OF SOME OF THE BAD LAW ENFORCEMENTS SOME OF THEM ARE DOING ILLEGAL THINGS AND IT'S NOT RIGHT ALL I KNOW IS THAT I'M GOING PRAY FOR YOU THE JUSTICE SYSTEM BCUZ HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT NOT KNOWING IF THE PERSON IS REALLY GUILTY OR NOT I MEAN HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF I MEAN REALLY? I PRAY THAT EVERY ONE WILL BE TREATED FAIRLY AND THAT THE FEDERAL LAW SYSTEM WILL COME UP WITH A BETTER PLAN BCUZ WHAT YALL HAVE GOING ON NOW SUCKS AND YOU KNOW IT SO I SAY TO YOU DO THE RIGHT THING AND PASS THAT LAW  BY NOVEMBER  SO YOU CAN WAKE UP WITH NO GUILT IN THE MORNINGS ONCE AGAIN SIGN ON THAT DOTTIE LINE SO YOU WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE WITH URSELF JUST THINK OF HOME MANY KIDS LIVES YOU CAN CHANGE AND HOW MUCH LOVE FROM THE FAMILIES THAT CAN MAKE THESE PEOPLE CHANGE PLEASE PLEASE DO THE RIGHT THING PASS THE LAW GIVE THESE PEOPLE LESSER TIME PLEASE!

my boyfriend just got caught

my boyfriend just got caught up in 5 drugs sales of cocaine does anyone know how long he might get some people are saying 2 and a half years i hope not i miss him so much and i pray for everyone who left messages on here about there family i hope your husbands or boy friends or  baby daddies come home soon

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