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Crack Users v. Powder Cocaine Users

NAACP President speaks on disparity in drug sentencing

Derrick Johnson

Today, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced plans to upend discriminatory federal policy that has disproportionately targeted Black communities by punishing crack users more harshly than powder cocaine users.

The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine had just one single purpose: to put Black Americans in jail. That’s it. There is no scientific justification for prosecuting and sentencing crack and powder offenses differently. It does not make our communities safer and has simply been used as a tool to lock our community up in jail in the failed War on Drugs.

The NAACP has been advocating to eliminate this racist disparity for decades. At his 2021 confirmation hearing, Attorney General Garland said that he supported eliminating the federal sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine-related offenses. By keeping this promise, today’s announcement is another step toward restoring faith in the criminal justice system for Black Americans.

I commend Attorney General Garland for taking this important step in the right direction toward justice and equity.

In Power,
Derrick Johnson


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