PERF’s Timoney Urges Action On Disenfranchisement, Crack


The administration of President-elect Barack Obama should give “serious attention” to the issues of disenfranchisement of felons and sentencing disparities for crack and powder cocaine, says Miami Police Chief John Timoney, president of the Police Executive Research Forum. Timoney write in the PERF newsletter that former prisoners “should be restored to full citizenship as much as possible.” Timoney says we should not “give criminals an excuse for not reforming themselves because they are bitter about having had one of their most important rights–the right to vote–taken away.”

The cocaine sentencing issue, says Timoney, “undermines trust in the criminal justice system and [] has strong racial effects that are unhealthy to our society.” He notes that the U.S. Sentencing Commission has urged Congress to reduce the 100-to-1 crack-powder sentencing-law disparity. The commission, says Timoney, is “not a bunch of bleeding-heart liberals.” Noting that 82 percent of crack cocaine defendants in 2006 were African-American, the law “creates a perception of intentional racism in the justice system.”


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