Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Holder moves to reduce sentencing disparities between crack, cocaine offenders - The Denver Post

Holder moves to reduce sentencing disparities between crack, cocaine offenders - The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — Thousands of federal prisoners could be released beginning later this year to correct wide disparities in sentences between crack and cocaine offenders under a proposal that won the key support of Attorney General Eric Holder.

Inmates serving lengthy terms for crack cocaine offenses could have an average of three years shaved off their sentences.

While more than 12,000 federal prisoners — nearly 6 percent of the inmates in the vastly overcrowded U.S. prison system — could be affected, Holder recommended that only 5,500 should be released because the others' crimes involved weapons or they have long criminal histories.

The proposal is intended to remedy a historic legacy of the war on drugs that meted out vastly greater sentences for crack cocaine users, who are mostly black, than powdered cocaine users, often white and sometimes affluent. While Congress changed the law last year, it did not address the fate of thousands of prisoners already sentenced under the old system — or arrested just before the law was changed.

Holder, testifying before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Wednesday, said years as a federal prosecutor, federal judge and now the country's top law enforcement officer compelled him to seek equity between offenders convicted in a crack case with those serving a shorter term for cocaine.

"There is simply no just or logical reason why their punishments should be dramatically more severe than those of other cocaine offenders," he said.

The six-member commission, presidential appointees including federal judges, lawyers and academics, likely will vote this month on amending the Fair Sentencing Act that was approved by Congress last year to grant the reprieves retroactively.

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