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December 16, 2022, Washington, DC – Americans for Prosperity (AFP) issued the following statement praising Attorney General Merrick Garland’s move to encourage federal prosecutors to eliminate ineffective and harmful sentencing disparities in cases involving two forms of the same drug – crack and powder cocaine – that are chemically identical. As Americans for Prosperity has previously noted, “research shows that this sentencing disparity has done nothing to reduce recidivism, improve public safety, or reduce drug use — but it does disproportionately harm certain communities.”
“We are thrilled to see the Biden administration take action to mitigate one of the many harmful and failed policies in federal criminal law. This is an encouraging step towards a fairer criminal justice system that is serious about prioritizing public health and safety,” said Jeremiah Mosteller, Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Prosperity.
“However, this is still only an administrative policy change that can change any day in the future. It’s now up to Congress to take this over the finish line by passing the EQUAL Act, which would ensure the permanent elimination of the federal distinction between powder and crack cocaine. Not only does the EQUAL Act have broad bipartisan support, but it would also allow for the retroactive application of this reform, a crucial element for mitigating the ripple effects of this sentencing disparity–and something AG Garland’s memo cannot do.”
“There also needs to be a larger change in how we treat substance use and addiction in America. That includes getting people the proper help they need to beat addiction rather than simply incarcerating them, which wastes precious law enforcement resources that would be better spent on solving and preventing serious crimes. We’re hopeful that formally eliminating the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine will be the catalyst towards realizing a system that more effectively protects public safety and health.”