Released From The Sentencing Project last week-
| "Americans of all political stripes, and especially professionals with experience in every aspect of the criminal justice system, recognize that the system is failing too many, costing too much, and helping too few," said today's report. Included among the recommendations to overcome these challenges are:|
· Eliminate the crack cocaine sentencing disparity;
· Expand alternatives to incarceration;
· Fund prisoner reentry through the Second Chance Act;
· Extend federal voting rights to people released from prison;
· Restore welfare and food stamp eligibility to individuals with drug felony convictions; and
· Analyze and reduce unwarranted racial and ethnic disparity in the federal judicial system.
The policy catalogue will be distributed to the Obama/Biden transition team and key leadership on Capitol Hill. The administration's transition team has already identified the need to eliminate crack cocaine sentencing disparities as one of its civil rights agenda items.
Both President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden have been supportive of criminal justice reforms while in the U.S. Senate and could aid efforts to address unfairness in the system. On the issue of crack cocaine sentencing, Senator Biden introduced, and Senator Obama cosponsored, the Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2007 (S. 1711), which would eliminate the 100 to 1 quantity-based sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The legislation would also focus federal law enforcement efforts on serious drug traffickers instead of the neighborhood crack sellers frequently targeted under current law.