"One-Fifth As Racist As It Used To Be"

Adam on the weak-sauce compromise Dick Durbin reached with GOP to narrow the crack/cocaine sentencing discrepancy:


The compromise was that Durbin would accept Sessions amendment to change the disparity from 100 to 1 to 20 to 1. In return, Sessions offered to withdraw his amendments that would have narrowed the circumstances under which a judge could reduce penalties for offenders who acted "fear, impulse or affection," and would have imposed a ten-year mandatory maximum for simple possession rather than eliminating the five-year mandatory minimum for simple possession entirely. " My position is for one to one, equity and equality in sentencing, but in order to get things done you have to be prepared to make mutual concessions," Durbin said. 

"That's what we have done." In a statement, the ACLU Legislative Counsel Jennifer Bellamy urged Congress to eliminate the disparity entirely, saying, "we finally have the political will and momentum to end this unconstitutional disparity. We should not miss this opportunity to effect real change and ensure fair sentencing for all Americans."

It's progress, I guess.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in National

From This Author

Just In