U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is contesting a Washington Post editorial, summarized in Crime & Justice News, that urged maintaining a differential in federal sentencing laws regarding crack and powder cocaine. Durbin said the Post “wrongly argued that crack is more addictive and associated with more violence than powder cocaine.” The senator maintains that “countless studies have shown that there’s little difference in the physiological impact of crack and powder cocaine.”
Durbin said a U.S. Sentencing Commission report cited by the Post “found that 10 percent of crack offenders were involved in violence — not 25 percent, as the editorial asserted, using a different definition of “violence” — while 6 percent of powder offenders were involved in violence.” A 4-percentage-point difference “hardly justifies a disparity in mandatory minimum sentences,” Durbin said.