Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 29 Sep '14 11:44
    Just in case someone else wants to scream how blacks are prone to violence because there are more blacks in prisons

    https://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform/interested-persons-memo-crackpowder-cocaine-sentencing-policy


    In 1986, Congress enacted mandatory minimum sentencing laws for all drugs and determined that crack cocaine should be treated as a distinctly different drug than powder cocaine with uniquely harsh penalties. Congress set the penalty for the sale of five grams of crack cocaine (about the weight of two pennies) at a mandatory five years in prison. For powder cocaine, Congress set the triggering quantity for a five-year sentence at 500 grams (a little more than 1 pound). Thus, it takes 100 times more powder cocaine to trigger the mandatory sentence for powder cocaine than for crack.

    In 1988, Congress chose to make mere ""possession"" of five grams of crack cocaine punishable by five years in prison.[i] It is the only drug that carries a mandatory prison term for possession. Possession of any other drug triggers a maximum sentence of one year in prison.


    The 100:1 disparity between crack and powder cocaine is unjustifiable. Research has shown that cocaine is cocaine regardless of the form in which it is used. The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) has long been sympathetic to this fact, which is why in 1995 it passed a sentencing guideline amendment to make crack penalties the same as powder. Unfortunately, Congress blocked the guideline amendment so it did not become law.


    Cocaine Sentencing Has Racially Discriminatory Consequences

    Unfortunately, the difference in the cocaine weights that trigger mandatory sentences for crack and powder cocaine has racially discriminatory consequences. Nationwide statistics compiled by the Commission reveal that the race of those prosecuted for crack offenses has predominately been African American. In 2000, 84.7% of crack cases were brought against African-Americans, 9% against Hispanics and only 5.6% against Whites. Caucasians, however, comprised a much higher proportion of crack users: 2.4 million Caucasians (64.4, 990,000 African Americans (26.6, and 348,000 Hispanics (9.2.[ii] For powder cocaine, the disparities are somewhat different. Of all powder cases brought, 30.5% were against African-Americans, 50.8% were against Hispanics and 17.8% were against whites.[iii]
  2. 29 Sep '14 12:20
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    Just in case someone else wants to scream how blacks are prone to violence because there are more blacks in prisons

    https://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform/interested-persons-memo-crackpowder-cocaine-sentencing-policy


    In 1986, Congress enacted mandatory minimum sentencing laws for all drugs and determined that crack cocaine should be treated as a disti ...[text shortened]... were against African-Americans, 50.8% were against Hispanics and 17.8% were against whites.[iii]
    Mandatory sentencing laws were enacted because liberals believed that when given discretion minorities received harsher treatment. If you wish to blame the system for using discretion in a prejudicial manner and then blame the same system when it takes out much of the discretion that's fine but I'm not sure what system you want.
    When the crack epidemic started, people were concerned about its effects especially in the minority community. Drug laws, with harsh penalties were passed to prevent a growth in a new drug that seemed problematic to minority communities. Again, it seems to be that the government passed laws to help minorities.
    There is an important point that you did not discuss: it would be nice, if in the 30 years since these laws were passed, people would adjust their behavior and actually stop breaking the law. My prediction is that obeying the law would decrease incarceration.
  3. 29 Sep '14 12:36
    Originally posted by quackquack
    Mandatory sentencing laws were enacted because liberals believed that when given discretion minorities received harsher treatment. If you wish to blame the system for using discretion in a prejudicial manner and then blame the same system when it takes out much of the discretion that's fine but I'm not sure what system you want.
    When the crack epidemic ...[text shortened]... ally stop breaking the law. My prediction is that obeying the law would decrease incarceration.
    500 g of cocaine gets you the same sentence as 5g of crack.

    this means that 5g of crack on a black young man would get him in jail for 5 years.

    while a white rich boy having enough cocaine to do a 1 week party ( 499g) would not.


    cocaine and crack is the same crap by any criteria that matters.


    i have no idea what you were trying to communicate, i doze off after the first sentence. i got the hint that somehow obama is to blame. again.
  4. 29 Sep '14 14:00
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    500 g of cocaine gets you the same sentence as 5g of crack.

    this means that 5g of crack on a black young man would get him in jail for 5 years.

    while a white rich boy having enough cocaine to do a 1 week party ( 499g) would not.


    cocaine and crack is the same crap by any criteria that matters.


    i have no idea what you were trying to commun ...[text shortened]... ate, i doze off after the first sentence. i got the hint that somehow obama is to blame. again.
    The weight of the drug is irrelevant. It is the dosage/ potency. Are they the same? At any rate, the real purpose of criminalizing drugs is to discourage people from using them. Would it be so bad if people stopped using and selling drugs?
    You seem to assume that the drugs are equivalent but certain groups continue to choose a drug that has a harsher penalty.Thirty years later people can modify their behavior to use and sell whatever drug they want. Could you explain why one would make such a foolish decision?
  5. 29 Sep '14 14:07 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by quackquack
    The weight of the drug is irrelevant. It is the dosage/ potency. Are they the same? At any rate, the real purpose of criminalizing drugs is to discourage people from using them. Would it be so bad if people stopped using and selling drugs?
    You seem to assume that the drugs are equivalent but certain groups continue to choose a drug that has a hars ...[text shortened]... and sell whatever drug they want. Could you explain why one would make such a foolish decision?
    500g of cocaine gives 5 years of jail time

    5 g of crack gives 5 years of jail time.


    the former is a dealer that can further sell to 100 or more people
    the latter is a user who made a bad decision.


    "certain groups continue to choose a drug that has a harsher penalty"
    of course. because it is cheaper. the poorest of drug users get sentenced to 5 years. meanhwile, if you can afford an amount 9 times larger of an equivalent drug, you get a slap on the wrist. you don't even get to see a judge.


    "Could you explain why one would make such a foolish decision?"
    because crack is cheaper and you don't have to be a spoiled rich kid to afford it.
  6. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    29 Sep '14 15:45
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    Just in case someone else wants to scream how blacks are prone to violence because there are more blacks in prisons

    https://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform/interested-persons-memo-crackpowder-cocaine-sentencing-policy


    In 1986, Congress enacted mandatory minimum sentencing laws for all drugs and determined that crack cocaine should be treated as a disti ...[text shortened]... were against African-Americans, 50.8% were against Hispanics and 17.8% were against whites.[iii]
    This just goes to show how messed up America's drug laws are. If someone is addicted to painkillers, sleeping pills, or some other over the counter drug we "treat" them, but let a drug like cocane enter the scene, and we lock them up for years. No wonder the rest of the world thinks America is nuts.
  7. 29 Sep '14 17:16 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by bill718
    No wonder the rest of the world thinks America is nuts.
    I wouldn't worry too much about that as we actually think that most countries laws are nuts - we just tend to be more vocal about america because they go around posing and telling everyone else what to do. If you go around preaching about democracy, yet have a less democratic government than many other first world nations, then expect criticism. If you go around preaching about human rights, yet have some of the highest levels of incarceration in the world, and still support the death penalty, then expect criticism. In Zambia, we have a somewhat undemocratic government and a really bad criminal justice system, but we don't go around telling everyone else that we are better than them.

    China on the other hand tends to be remarkably unvocal about other countries political systems and human rights etc. They exert their influence quietly.
  8. 29 Sep '14 17:19
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    500g of cocaine gives 5 years of jail time

    5 g of crack gives 5 years of jail time.


    the former is a dealer that can further sell to 100 or more people
    the latter is a user who made a bad decision.


    "certain groups continue to choose a drug that has a harsher penalty"
    of course. because it is cheaper. the poorest of drug users get sentenced ...[text shortened]... h decision?"
    because crack is cheaper and you don't have to be a spoiled rich kid to afford it.
    First you tell me they are equivalent and therefore the punishment should be the same but then you tell me they are different in price and target groups. It can't be both. I tried to do quick research on use and it seems they are taken in different manners, the high lasts for a different amount of time, some people believe crack is more dangerous and addictive.
    I would again like to point out that you can easily avoid the harshness of drug laws by not using or selling dangerous substances.
  9. 29 Sep '14 17:44
    Originally posted by quackquack
    First you tell me they are equivalent and therefore the punishment should be the same but then you tell me they are different in price and target groups. It can't be both. I tried to do quick research on use and it seems they are taken in different manners, the high lasts for a different amount of time, some people believe crack is more dangerous and a ...[text shortened]... at you can easily avoid the harshness of drug laws by not using or selling dangerous substances.
    Another easy way to avoid the harshness of drug laws is repealing them.
  10. 29 Sep '14 17:49
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Another easy way to avoid the harshness of drug laws is repealing them.
    In order to prevent unequal application of law, we can repeal all laws. It seems that people are far more concerned with equity than logic.
  11. 29 Sep '14 17:50
    Originally posted by quackquack
    In order to prevent unequal application of law, we can repeal all laws. It seems that people are far more concerned with equity than logic.
    What could "logic" possibly have to do with (drug) laws?
  12. 29 Sep '14 20:40
    Originally posted by quackquack
    In order to prevent unequal application of law, we can repeal all laws. It seems that people are far more concerned with equity than logic.
    I see no reason why all drug prohibitions should not be repealed. We lock up 10s of thousands of people who want an attitude adjustment, or whatever. If they do harm it is to themselves.
  13. 30 Sep '14 09:04
    Originally posted by quackquack
    First you tell me they are equivalent and therefore the punishment should be the same but then you tell me they are different in price and target groups. It can't be both. I tried to do quick research on use and it seems they are taken in different manners, the high lasts for a different amount of time, some people believe crack is more dangerous and a ...[text shortened]... at you can easily avoid the harshness of drug laws by not using or selling dangerous substances.
    "First you tell me they are equivalent and therefore the punishment should be the same but then you tell me they are different in price and target groups. It can't be both."

    yes, they bloody can because those are two different characteristics.


    "some people believe crack is more dangerous and addictive."
    proven wrong. and cocaine can be easily converted into crack anyway, so even if it were true, it would still be irrelevant.


    "I would again like to point out that you can easily avoid the harshness of drug laws by not using or selling dangerous substances"
    and in saudi arabia you can avoid being stoned for adultery by not committing (or in the case of women, not being accused) adultery. doesn't make it just.
  14. 01 Oct '14 23:09
    Originally posted by bill718
    This just goes to show how messed up America's drug laws are. If someone is addicted to painkillers, sleeping pills, or some other over the counter drug we "treat" them, but let a drug like cocane enter the scene, and we lock them up for years. No wonder the rest of the world thinks America is nuts.
    ah heck, lets just bring public flogging and death by stoning, that should raise some eye brows..
  15. 01 Oct '14 23:17
    Originally posted by quackquack
    The weight of the drug is irrelevant. It is the dosage/ potency. Are they the same? At any rate, the real purpose of criminalizing drugs is to discourage people from using them. Would it be so bad if people stopped using and selling drugs?
    You seem to assume that the drugs are equivalent but certain groups continue to choose a drug that has a hars ...[text shortened]... and sell whatever drug they want. Could you explain why one would make such a foolish decision?
    It also has to do with the social impact of the drug, although this is a bogus argument. Anyone who lived through the 90s in an urban setting certainly noticed how the crack trade ruined families. A rock could be bought for as little as $5, but was at least 10x as addictive as doing a line of blow. The rich kids could stay high for days at a time, and go back to work at the end of their binge.

    On the other hand, I saw a young professional black couple start out snorting and end up pawning everything for another hit of crack. Drugs are bad, but are much worse due to the prohibitions on them which make the suppliers wealthy and give the motivation to be sure there always is a supply.