Today, Sherelyn Anderson’s war on drugs ends. The one-time crack addict is to be sentenced in King County Superior Court for helping an undercover officer get $100 worth of crack cocaine in May 2001. She made $10 on the deal. Now, the woman who beat drugs and raises a son alone as she attends college faces an almost certain 10 to 20 months behind bars.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer looks into Anderson’s crime and the criminal justice system that will lock her up. Her supporters say the case is one more of harsh drug laws destroying another life and the justice system punishing most heavily the poor and minorities. Recent studies have shown racial disparities in drug law enforcement. One study by a University of Washington professor for a group of defense attorneys found that although African Americans make up less than 9 percent of Seattle’s population, they account for 64 percent of those arrested on drug charges. Anderson is black.