Racial Disparity And The Crack Cocaine Federal Sentencing Guidelines

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Binnicker, Sandy L.
Criminology & Criminal Justice
book chapter description
Racial disparities throughout the Federal Prison System are perhaps more apparent today than ever largely due to the fact that people are becoming increasingly cognizant of disproportionate sentencing for various types of crimes, most notably for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine offenses established under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Regardless of their legal origins, or who or what is most responsible for their continued utilization, the uses of disproportionate sentences for similar offenses are part of an alarming trend occurring in our criminal justice system. It is crucial, therefore, to have a better understanding of the magnitude of this problem, both academically, and statistically, so that further efforts can be made to reduce and or prevent this trend from continuing and causing additional devastation. The purpose of this research was to determine if retroactive crack cocaine federal sentencing reforms have been effective in reducing racial disparity rates in the Federal Prison System. A collection of literature, combined with comparison T-tests of federal sentencing data, was analyzed to compare disparity rates before and after the sentencing reform.