29 Mar What Will Smith, The Oscars And A Slap Mean For Criminal Justice Reform
But while you’re here, take less than a minute of your time (just 300 words) to learn about the EQUAL Act. Under federal law, there is a huge disparity for sentencing with cocaine-involved offenses. From the 1980s to 2010, that disparity was 100 to 1. This means that someone charged with possessing five grams of crack cocaine faced the same sentence as someone charged with possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine. Lawmakers reduced the 100-to-1 ratio to 18-to-1 in 2010. But, even then, the disparity remains huge.
Last year, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced the EQUAL Act (or, more formally, the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law Act of 2021). The goal of the proposal is straightforward: “To eliminate the disparity in sentencing for cocaine offenses….” The EQUAL Act repeals provisions from the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, 21 U.S.C. § 951 et seq. These are the provisions that impose the current 18-to-1 disparity. The EQUAL Act ends that disparity.
But don’t take my word for it. Instead, go read it yourself. The EQUAL Act is only six pages. (And, with the way Congress writes, it’s actually closer to two pages in a normal Word doc.) Even better? The EQUAL Act already has support from both political parties. In the House, which passed the bill in September, the EQUAL Act has 56 cosponsors (30 Democrats and 26 Republicans). Similarly, in the Senate, it has 19 cosponsors (10 Republicans and 9 Democrats). And, even more importantly, Americans overwhelmingly support it already.