Thursday, May 31, 2007

ACLU Town Hall Meeting Crack vs. Cocaine

If you are interested please attend this town hall meeting on Saturday. I'll be there.

ACLU to Host Townhall on Need to Repair Discriminatory Federal Drug Sentencing Policy

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES

May 15, 2007

Contact: Rachel Perrone, (202) 675-2312, media@dcaclu.org

Washington, DC - On June 2, 2007, the ACLU Washington Legislative Office and the ACLU of Alabama will host a townhall in Birmingham, Alabama on the need to repair the current discriminatory federal drug sentencing policy. The event is open to the press, and ACLU speakers will be available afterwards for interviews.

What: The Incarceration Nation - Townhall Meeting on Crack vs. Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparities



Speakers: Senator Jeff Sessions (R - AL) (invited)

Ed Vaughan, President, Alabama State Conference NAACP

State Representative Artur Davis, (D - Birmingham)

Dr. Ralph Hendrix, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Deborah Vagins, Policy Council for Civil Rights, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Barry Hargrove, Field Organizer, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

When: 9:00am - 1:00pm Saturday, June 2

Where: Church of the Reconciler - 112 14th Street, North - Birmingham, AL

Currently, distributing just five grams of crack carries a minimum five-year federal prison sentence, while distributing 500 grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence. Despite repeated recommendations by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Congress has not addressed this 100:1 sentencing disparity, which has devastated African-American communities and undermined faith in the criminal justice system. African-Americans comprise the vast majority of those convicted of crack cocaine offenses, although whites and Hispanics form the majority of crack users.

A 2006 ACLU report found no medical or legal justification for the unfair sentencing disparity ratio. Although Congress' stated intent was to target high-level cocaine traffickers, the result has been just the opposite - a 2002 USSC report found that only 15 percent of federal cocaine traffickers can be classified as high-level, while over 70 percent of crack defendants have low-level involvement in drug activity, such as street level dealers, couriers, or lookouts.

The ACLU report, "Cracks in the System: Twenty Years of the Unjust Federal Crack Cocaine Law," is available at:

http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/sentencing/27181pub20061026.html


2 comments:

Don said...

OK, Loretta, it's fine and dandy that Senator Sessions is listed as an "Invited speaker".

It will be revealing if he actually makes an appearance, speaks, and even more what he says.

Loretta Nall said...

Normally Don I would have thought along those lines as well. However, Sen. Sessions is a co-spponsor of this bill with none other than Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Talk about strange political bed fellows. I am still trying to figure out why Sessions sponsored this bill.