ND Rep. Kelly Armstrong Says Lessen Penalties For Crack Cocaine
That's an unexpected headline. You know what's also unexpected?
These days I'm going to applaud bipartisan cooperation on anything! We have really turned our elected officials into gophers. Critters cowering in their holes until the next election cycle. It seems North Dakota Republican Representative Kelly Armstrong has opted to go to work instead. Rep. Armstrong even went one step further- he's working together with his fellow legislators from an opposing party. Isn't being considered the "opposing" party, putting undue pressure on that individual to oppose everything? Government is goofy.
Well somehow Kelly Armstrong(R-ND) teamed up with Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Don Bacon (R-NE) to introduce the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act. EQUAL is a helluva acronym don't ya think? See how it's better when you work together?
So what needs eliminating? This pulled from the desk of Representative Bobby Scott...
The bipartisan legislation would eliminate the federal crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity and retroactively apply it to those already convicted or sentenced.
The sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine, at one point as high as 100 to 1, helped fuel the mass incarceration epidemic. 81% of individuals convicted of crack cocaine offenses in 2019 were Black, while historically 66% of crack cocaine users have been white or Hispanic. In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act reduced the sentencing disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1, and in 2018 the FIRST STEP Act made that reduction retroactive.
Ahhh, so it goes back to 1986 and the passing of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act which basically stated the penalty for the possession amount of crack would be proportionate to 100 times the same amount of cocaine. Meaning if I had a gram of crack I'd be penalized like it was 100 grams of cocaine. Point of the matter is...I'm white, the odds are heavily in my favor to not have crack and instead have cocaine.
In 2019, 81% of people convicted of crack cocaine offenses were Black,6 even though white and Hispanic people have historically accounted for over 66% of crack cocaine users
Before Congress established the crack-powder disparity in 1986, the average federal drug sentence for Black people was 11% higher than for whites. Just four years later, the average federal drug sentence for Black defendants was 49% higher.
Here's a great story about being "unfairly fair" to white kids that love cocaine. If you've got a minute it's worth it.
But let us all applaud our very own Kelly Armstrong for working together in a bipartisan way to get things done that just make sense!
“Eliminating the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity is a step toward applying equal justice under the law. The EQUAL Act is sound, bipartisan criminal justice reform, and I am proud to work with Reps. Jeffries, Scott, and Bacon in advancing this effort,” said Rep. Armstrong.
Keep up the good work y'all!