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A Banner Day for Crack Dealers


Yesterday, the US Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to give retroactive effect to its proposed permanent amendment to the guidelines, making convicts previously sentenced for crack cocaine offenses eligible for significant sentencing reductions.  The Commission's gushing, self-congratulatory press release reflects, probably unintentionally, the extent to which the Commission has become the lap dog of the drug bar. 

Still, one must give credit where it's due.  The Commission makes only a minimal attempt to mask the de facto prison break it has authorized:

Not every federal crack cocaine offender in federal prison will be eligible for a lower sentence as a result of this decision. The Commission estimates, based on Fiscal Year 2010 sentencing data, that approximately 12,000 offenders may be eligible to seek a sentence reduction. The average sentence reduction for eligible offenders will be approximately 37 months...

Well that's reassuring.  Not every crack offender (read, in large measure, "dealer") will get a break  --  only a mere 12,000.  When multiplied by the average sentence reduction (slightly more than three years), what this means is that the Commission has authorized 36,000 fewer man-years of imprisonment for those who have involved themselves with perhaps the most violence-related drug on the market, a drug that has wreaked havoc and misery in one community after the next.

Of course, if the crack recidivism rate were zero, that would be one thing.  In fact it's over 30% (a figure nowhere to be found in the press release).  In other words, the Commission seems to take great pride in virtually guaranteeing a rolling crime wave.



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