Missouri House Approves Crack Cocaine Sentencing Reform

The Missouri House of Representatives last Thursday approved reducing the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses. The move came as the House approved a larger judiciary bill, which now heads to the Senate.

Some cocaine is still more equal than other under a Missouri bill, but there is less of a sentencing disparity. (wikimedia.org)
The disparity in Missouri's crack sentencing law, adopted in 1989 in the midst of drug war hysteria, is the most extreme in the nation. Under the law, a person convicted of selling 2.5 grams of crack cocaine earns the same mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence as someone selling 425 grams of powder cocaine.

Under the measure approved by the House, it would take the sale of 28 grams of crack to generate that same mandatory minimum sentence.

"I think it's a matter of fairness," House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) explained.

The move to address the disparity gained traction after a Sentencing Project report last year highlighted the extreme nature of the Missouri disparity. "Harsh drug penalties like these are a contributing factor to the exceptionally high rates of incarceration and overcrowding in state prison facilities," the report noted.

While the measure had bipartisan support in the House with only one no vote, the judiciary bill's prospects in the Senate are unclear. The bill deals with a variety of other issues, ranging from fees for trial transcripts to guidelines to licensing foster care providers to making the St. Louis circuit clerk position an appointed one, rather than an elected one.

Columbia, MO
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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thanks but no thanks - lets not get excited over sentence reform

awesome!!! well... you know what, i dont think its cool to get excited about sentence reform anymore. i think as reformists we cannot even for a second act like this is acceptable. this doesnt placate anything. we should expect lot's more. possibly the saddest thing about the war on drugs is the fact that common sense should dictate everything. 


was a time reformists would act like major things would be achieved by sentence reforms... nah, we cant act like that anymore. We should expect far more and push for it. You know what johnny politician thinks about sentence reform?? I think that he wears his big, thick, phony smile infront of colleagues and reformists, he doesnt feel happiness or achievement, he feels RELIEF and SATISFACTION, believing he has been able to achieve some sort of gargantuan compromise that will earn him future favors. Im sorry to burst your bubble you professional crook (take it from a fellow professional crook who lies cheats and steals to fund a several wop a day china habit cause a bags 5-15 bucks a whopper 50-75-100-150 and a bag SHOULD be 80 cents - it takes a thief to know a thief, SOMETIMES - definitely not all the time though, certainly as far as politicos go. However, that hot chick lives near you that you see all the time and turns you on even more cause she never seems to give much of a crap about you?? maybe shes tryin to figure out how to continue doing what she loves to do the most but struggles with becasue of prohibition, thats why she didnt notice you, while you thought she was just hard to get, you couldnt imagine she was a pk loving dope banger. Or the hot guy on the train who you see every day at the same time, hast he same commute as you? When you walk into your office job he walks further downtown... you know youve seen him atleast several dozen times, you think hes cute as all heck but he never meets your gaze, he must be shy! no... its just he cant believe his family wont talk to him anymore because he makes a personal choice to use pks and black tar. hes never hurt anybody while doing that and in fact, argues that until he told his family about his use, about 4 years into it, nobody knew and he argued that those 4 years were the closest hed ever been with his family, giving specific examples of great times all shared together. He cant seem to get why his personal decisions aren't allowed to be his own in this day and age and why so many people, like his family, feel shame about HIS use? They didnt even know! Its not you sweetheart, infact, if your commute was a little bit later in the day and going uptown instead of downtown, youd be finding your dream man in a great mood, by now, you guys would even be dating. Maybe youd do what he does, and be happy to have had your life changed. Maybe your of the lot that thinks users are akin to devilworshippers... either way, youll never know.) BUT YOU DIDNT DO ANYTHING. YOU DONT DESERVE ANY FUTURE FAVORS AND YOUR TRANSPARENT. Sentence reform is a distraction in my opinion. Im glad it helps my fellow users out who're getting pinched right now or snitched and pinched or whatever the circumstances may be and as such with these reforms can avoid being punished for something that should never, ever, be put in the hands of the government. I hope this helps lots of people but we cant allow ourselves to be placated by sentence reform. Its a distraction from our true goals.

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Im glad it helps here my

Im glad it helps here my fellow users out who're getting pinched right now or snitched and pinched or whatever the circumstances may be and as such with these reforms can source avoid being punished for something that should never, ever, be put in the hands of the government. I hope this helps lots of people but we cant allow ourselves to be placated by sentence reform. Its a distraction from our true goals.

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