President Barrack Obama commuted the sentences today of 8 people who were convicted of crack cocaine related charges. He did so on the premise that there has historically been a disparity in sentencing related to crack cocaine, versus powder cocaine. Obama felt that these 8 individuals had already served their fair sentence for their crimes, and wants to utilize this as an example for future convictions and sentencing.
Obama Frees 8 Crack Cocaine Offenders, Commutes SentencingBack in 2010, Obama helped pass legislation that was supposed to marginalize the difference between sentences received for crack cocaine charges, and make them more in line for sentences related to powder cocaine charges. Some people believe that users and dealers of the crack version of cocaine were unjustly receiving harsher and longer sentences for choosing to associate themselves with that version of nearly the same drug. The justice system had looked more favorably at the use of powder cocaine users than it had of crack cocaine users.
These 8 people are just the beginning, if Obama will have his way. The president is hoping that Congress will pass further legislation that could retroactively reduce or commute the sentences of other inmates convicted of drug sales and use. This could relieve some of the burden on the prison systems across the country, as well as make things more standardized in terms of sentences handed down in the future for drug convictions.
Another law that is coming under scrutiny in some states is the current establishment of a mandatory minimum sentence for certain drug-related charges. These mandatory minimum sentences have caused some people to spend needless decades behind bars stemming from offenses as little as the personal use of controlled substances. Some people in this country have served more time for possessing small amounts of marijuana than others have served for manslaughter, sexual assault, and other more heinous crimes.
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Obama Frees 8 Crack Cocaine Offenders, Commutes Sentencing.