Alabama inmates charged with crack offenses could see release

A person convicted for cocaine-related offenses could face serious consequences including jail time. It is not a far leap to guess that when convicted of a cocaine offense, a person could be sentenced to several months or more of incarcerations. What most people would not guess is that the length of a sentence could depend on the form of the cocaine, a disparity that has been eliminated for inmates in Alabama and nationwide.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines - up until only recently - included a serious disparity in the sentencing range for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. The way it stood, someone charged with a crack-related offense faced a five year mandatory sentence with a maximum of 20 years for possessing 5 to 50 grams of the controlled substance. If the same amount of substance was in the powder form, a person could possess up to 500 grams before facing a mandatory jail sentence.

The absolute disparity in the sentencing range prompted Congress to pass the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 which raised the amount of crack cocaine required to include a mandatory jail sentence to align it with that of powder cocaine. The passing of the act has had retroactive effect which could reduce sentences for inmates convicted of crack-related offenses. Some could even see early release.

The federal changes do not grant automatic release or sentence reduction, however. The inmate must go through the process of filing a motion seeking reduction based on the new guidelines. Each individual case will be reviewed and could be granted or denied for several reasons. It is important that inmates who have been convicted or face conviction find the best representation through an experienced defense attorney.

Source: al.com, "Federal guidelines could reduce Alabama inmates' sentences for crack offenses," Kent Faulk, Nov. 1, 2011

1 Comment

Why target crack cocaine? One drug is not worse or better than the other, this streamline early release for crack cocaine shows a racial favoritism! It's no big secret that Afro- Americans prefer crack, rending the streamline release in enormous favor of that race! What a slap in the face for white inmates incarcerated for other drugs, is this JUSTICE? Not at all

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