Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT ***** THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCAINE *****FENSE AND ***** ***** ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and crack cocaine ***** offenses in what is known as ***** 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986'. These stricter ***** guidelines were passed to address the emerging *****sue of ***** cocaine which was perceived to be."..a social menace ***** was categorically different from powder ***** in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack cocaine is powder ***** mixed with banking soda and then cooked in***** hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces ***** sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than ***** ***** and aroused great public concern when it first h***** ***** streets in the United States. According to Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University, as reported ***** Coyle (2002) in ***** work entitled: "Race ***** Class Penalties in Crack Cocaine Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "crack distribution rights *****d boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (Coyle, 2002) The follow*****g table relates ***** median street-level dealer drug quantities and m*****atory minimum ***** by the Anti-Drug Act of 1986.

***** Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

*****

Median Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack Cocaine

52 grams

10 years

Powder *****

340 grams

Source: ***** (2002

***** created the United ***** Sentencing Commission in 1984 for the purpose ***** developing federal sentencing ***** for ***** purpose of bringing about a reduction ***** sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out in the Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Commission was instructed to conduct a study relating ***** different penalties in powder- ***** crack-coca*****e sentencing. The study lasted ***** duration of one year ***** recommendations by the Commission to ***** U.S. Congress ***** revise the crack/powder 100:1 ***** disparity due to findings that due to the small differences in the two forms ***** coca*****e ***** such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) of the quantity ratio that would require mandatory ***** ***** to the two forms of cocaine. Commission recommendations included advisement that guidelines in ***** sentencing should be based upon criteria other than the type ***** ***** for determination of ***** lengths ***** sentences. These recommendations ***** rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal to make changes to ***** law and ***** in fact the first such move in the history of the United States Sentencing Commission since its' *****mation. Once again, recommendations were made in April 1997 regarding the ***** in ***** between crack- ***** powder-cocaine ***** the differential sentencing should be balanced through provision of a range ***** 2:1 to 15:1 for ***** to choose ***** among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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