Washington D.C., Aug 11, 2022 / 16:50 pm
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pressed the U.S. Senate to make the penalty for distributing crack cocaine the same as that imposed on those caught dealing powder cocaine.
In an Aug. 1 letter to Congress, the bishops announced their support for legislation passed in the House of Representatives that would eliminate a disparity in federal sentencing the bishops say has a disproportionate effect on Black people.
“Although crack and powder cocaine are simply two forms of the same drug, crack cocaine is cheaper; therefore, it is more accessible than powder cocaine to persons experiencing poverty, many of whom are persons of color,” the letter read.
“We cannot ignore the racial impact of current federal cocaine sentences when Blacks are more than three times as likely to be convicted for crack cocaine trafficking as for powder cocaine trafficking,” wrote Bishops Paul S. Coakley and Shelton J. Fabre of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.