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Unformatted text preview: Birch Brendan Birch Cocc150.31 4/5/07 Overdue Change I have chosen to write about cocaine and the different sentences an individual can receive in Federal Courts in regard to whether the drug in question is in a powder form or crack cocaine form. The issue is a source of much heated debate for many reasons, especially its ostensibly racial implications. I have always had an interest in different laws in the United States. My dad was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit when I was younger, so I am always very skeptical when scrutinizing laws that seem to have any kind of obvious flaws or lack of logical justification. So, this issue was a source of immediate interest when I first learned about the disparities between sentences for crack/powder cocaine when I read Going up the River, by Joseph T. Hallinan. I learned the very basics of Federal policy regarding cocaine, and my initial response was that the current laws were long overdue for a serious overhaul of sorts. The laws seemed to be inherently racist in nature because they assign much harsher sentences to those who are convicted of trafficking or possessing crack cocaine, which is mainly associated with African Americans living in urban districts, as opposed to those who are convicted of powder cocaine trafficking/possession; a drug that has a much broader user base. According to Recommendations for Change, a Report of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the current laws that assign such harsh laws to those convicted of crack cocaine offenses came about when Congress enacted the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1886, in response to a growing urgency surrounding drugs; especially crack cocaine. According 1 Birch to the report, Congress differentiated between powder cocaine and crack cocaine and, concluding that crack cocaine was more dangerous, established significantly higher...
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- Spring '08