IF A NATIONS VALUES AND IDENTITY WERE JUDGED BY ITS JUSTICE SYSTEM
WHAT WOULD OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM SAY ABOUT US AS A NATION ?
IS THERE A SOLUTION?
Obviously, the most logical solution would be to completely eliminate the crack cocaine disparity. But since Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reducing the 100-to-1 ratio for crack v. powder to 18-to-1, there have been no attempts to competely eliminate the disparity and it does not seem that there will be any in the near future.
The Sentencing Commission could lower Level 43's recommended sentence of life without parole to 25-to-life for first-time non-violent offenders, and make it retroactive.
Lastly, President Obama could continue to exercise his executive authority to reduce the sentence of crack cocaine offenders serving life without parole.
There is no question that we live in one of the greatest civilizations ever known to man, and our judicial system has played an integral part of seeing to this. However, no country, no matter how great, is perfect. As Supreme Court Justice Kennedy eloquently stated: “Society changes, knowledge accumulates, we learn, sometimes from our mistakes, punishments that did not seem cruel and unusual at one time, may, in light of reason and experience, be found cruel and unusual at a later.”
There is no quick fix or simple solution that will address the problems created by our judicial and prison system. No one suggest that the federal prison gates be opened and start anew. But there should at least be a crack in the door to correct the laws and sentences that have been proven to be unwise and unjust.