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News Link • Drug War

Clemency for Crack?

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Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the Justice Department is ready to make clemency easier for people convicted of possessing crack cocaine. A large number of prisoners are expected to apply for leniency under the new directive. The process will require a convict to apply to the department for clemency, and those applications will be reviewed by the president. In the 1980's, crack cocaine became popular among users, especially the poor and African/Americans. Penalties for possession of crack were increased to 100 times that of power cocaine. This led many people to claim the enhanced penalties were the result of racism. According to figures from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 82 percent of all people convicted of dealing crack are African Americans. Just 27 percent of those found guilty of selling powder cocaine were of African descent.

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