Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Commission votes to allow retroactive easing of crack cocaine sentences

The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously today to allow some 19,500 federal prison inmates, most of them black, to seek reductions in their crack cocaine sentences.

The commission, which sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, decided to make retroactive its recent easing of recommended sentences for crack offenses.

Roughly 3,800 inmates could be eligible for release from prison within a year after the March 3 effective date of Tuesday's decision. Federal judges will have the final say whether to reduce sentences.

The commissioners said the delay would give judges and prison officials time to deal with public safety and other issues.

Neither the court's decision nor the commission's guidelines affect the minimum sentences, which only Congress can alter.

In previous years, the sentencing commission reduced penalties for crimes involving marijuana, LSD and OxyContin, which are primarily committed by whites, and made those decisions retroactive.

Read the rest of the article here.

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