College Papers

dried of sentences for comparable offenses. During the

dried into a solid mass taking a kind of rock form. Crack is smoked
where cocaine is usually snorted. Crack is usually done and seen in poor
communities, while cocaine is done by more affluent people in suburban areas.

            In 2009, 79 percent of
5,669 sentenced crack offenders were black, versus 10 percent who were white and
10 percent who were Hispanic. The numbers for 6,020 powder cocaine cases are 17
percent of these offenders were white, 28 percent were black, and 53 percent
were Hispanic. Combined with a 115-month average imprisonment for crack
offenses versus an average of 87 months for cocaine offenses, this created a
system were more African-Americans were spending time in the prison system. (Kurtzleben,
2010)

            Fortunately in 2010 under President
Barack Obama Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the
sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine from 100:1
to 18:1. Because of the 100:1 ratio people faced longer sentences for offenses
involving crack cocaine than for offenses involving the same amount of powder
cocaine -two forms of the same drug. With the majority of people arrested for
crack offenses being African American, the 100:1 ratio resulted in vast racial
disparities in the average length of sentences for comparable offenses. During
the 100:1 era African Americans served virtually as much time in prison for
non-violent drug offenses as whites did for violent offenses. Hopefully
the FSA ends the racial disparities caused by the wrongfully placed crack
cocaine sentencing laws and helps to build confidence in our criminal justice
system especially in communities of color. (Paragraph References ACLU, 2014)

            With the racial disparities within
our criminal justice system in areas of arrest for drugs, sentencing for drugs,
and incarceration for drugs it becomes very easy to state the hypothesis that “race
affects how drug offenders are sentenced.” Now, let’s test this hypothesis when
given a data set involving race and minimum sentencing.