Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cracked Ice

This week when we were going over what topics to touch on for some reason nothing could compare to the question surrounding why ice (methamphetamine) offenders get off easier than “hard” (crack) offenders. They are both doing harm to the community; the only difference is whose community? The public knows the two side’s one rural or suburban and the other as inner city.

Now, most of us remember the crack explosion in the mid to late 80’s when it got so bad that our government declared a war on the coco shrub, its profiteers and users. We went so far as to prescribe federal mandatory minimum sentences for first offense of “simple possession”. The government set records for convictions and in the process locked up many of one particular demographic. For example, The US Sentencing Commission found in its 1997 report that "nearly 90 percent of the offenders convicted in federal court for crack cocaine distribution are African-American while the majority of crack cocaine users is white. Thus, sentences appear to be harsher and more severe for racial minorities than others as a result of this law. The current penalty structure results in a perception of unfairness and inconsistency." The time these offenders serve is 59% longer than for that of rapists.

Some agree that ice has taken crack’s spot as the number one scourge. It tears apart homes, breaks up families and drops property values. But no one is sounding the trumpets’ call to war, instead our courts are offering rehab, which is fine but I’m pretty sure crack heads need rehab too.

No comments: