As this Thursday’s effective date approaches for new and lower crack cocaine sentencing guidelines, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has received more than 1,000 public comments on a proposal to make the lower sentencing levels retroactive, the National Law Journal reports. The commission has extended the public comment period on the retroactivity issue and has scheduled a Nov. 13 public hearing. Making the so-called “crack minus two” guideline amendment retroactive could result in nearly 20,000 crack offenders having their sentences reduced an average of two years or more.
The more than 1,000 public comments heavily favor retroactivity. The comments appear to be the result of intensive efforts by Families Against Mandatory Minimums and other organizations that have long supported the commission’s position that the 100-to-1 crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity disproportionately affects minorities and low-level offenders and undermines the objectives of sentencing reform laws.