Many people convicted of
drug offenses have not committed violent crimes, like murder or armed robbery. Most
are low-level offenders who wouldn’t be in prison at all were it
not for the difference in sentencing for crack cocaine offenses versus
powder cocaine offenses.
As the Baltimore Sun reports, Maryland’s top federal prosecutor is
“crying wolf” over a projected wave of so-called violent offenders
flooding the state (after being released) under a new drug law that changes
punishment for those convicted of selling crack cocaine – up until
recently it was much harsher than it was for those convicted of selling
powder cocaine – leading commentators to charge racial bias (those
convicted of using or selling crack tend to be black, while those convicted
of using or selling powder tend to be white).
Rather than crying wolf, as the Baltimore Sun argues, prosecutors should
look at the conditions that put low-level offenders behind bars in the
first place – federal prosecutors who were gunning to convict people
of drug offenses that involved crack cocaine and tougher prison sentences.