Campaign Launched Against Crack Cocaine Sentencing

By Jonathan Adams Aug 15, 2007

The Sentencing Project has partnered with the ACLU, Open Society Institute, and the Drug Policy Alliance in a campaign to reduce the federal mandatory sentencing for low-level crack cocaine offenses. Glaringly affecting communities of color, the disparity between the mandatory sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine are at the center of this push for reform. The tagline, “It’s not fair. It’s not working,” underscores the failed War on Drugs. Not only does the law disproportionately affect people of color; there has been no significant change to the ways the drugs are affecting our communities apart from further destruction of families by putting people in prison. One ad speaks to the sentencing laws’ affect on families.

Karen Garrison, mother of twin sons who received 15 and 19 year sentences for a non-violent crack cocaine offense just months after they graduated from college. According to Jasmine Tyler of the Drug Policy Alliance, "Karen Garrison is like mothers all over the country who want success for their children. Instead she will be making visits to federal prisons for years."

The Open Society Institute notes that in 2005, 80 percent of those sentenced under federal crack cocaine laws were Black. The Sentencing Project further reports that Black people spend about as much time in jail for these low-level drug offenses and white people do for violent offenses. Follow this link to read more about this important campaign.