ALEC Action Urges U.S. Senate to Follow States’ Lead with EQUAL Act to Address Sentencing Disparity
EQUAL Act would eliminate sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine-related offenses.
ALEC Action this week sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Sen. Lindsey Graham, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to move forward with the EQUAL Act, legislation that would eliminate sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine-related offenses.
In the coaltion letter signed by 21 groups, ALEC Action told the senators the case for passing the EQUAL Act is clear.
“There is no scientific justification for the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine-related offenses. Crack and powder are simply two forms of the same drug. Punishing crack offenses more harshly does nothing to enhance public safety. It does, however, contribute greatly to racial disparities in the federal prison population. Approximately 90 percent of people incarcerated for crack offenses are Black. In Fiscal Year 2020, nearly 77 percent of people sentenced for crack cocaine offenses were Black. The EQUAL Act would bring the federal justice system more in line with the vast majority of states that do not punish crack and powder cocaine differently.”
The House of Representatives passed the bill in September 2021 with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 361-66. The Senate version of the bill enjoyed the support of more than 60 senators, but never received a vote in committee or on the floor.