On November 1, 2007 New Federal Crack Cocaine Sentencing Guidelines Become Effective.
After a battle lasting over 12 years and after growing national concern surrounding ongoing racial disparity in the justice system, the United States Sentencing Commission Thursday lowered sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine. Until November 2007 there had been a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for crack versus cocaine possession. Meaning, simply, that 5 grams of crack brought the same sentence as 500 grams of powder cocaine. Although he Commission did not completely eliminate that disparity it did take a major step towards narrowing the gap. It is estimated that the average crack sentence will now be 16 months lower. Now the issue of retroactivity has taken center stage at the Commission with a hearing scheduled for November 15, 2007. If the Commission and ultimately Congress applies the amendment retroactively, thousands of inmates previously sentenced for crack possession can seek to have there sentence lowered. Check back in mid November for updates.