I am writing to ask that you provide relief for the thousands of
Americans who are currently in prison under the unjust and racially
discriminatory drug sentencing laws that Congress overturned last
summer. Please vote as soon as possible to make the new crack cocaine
Prior to Congress’ passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, the Sentencing
Commission showed real leadership and consistently called for an end
the 100:1 disparity in sentences for crack and powder cocaine offenses.
In 2007 — three years before Congress would make progress on this issue —
members of your commission voted unanimously to lighten sentences for
crack-related offenses and made the change retroactive. This move sent
nearly 20,000 federal inmates home to be with their loved ones.
I am asking now that you continue to show leadership on this issue,
which continues to disproportionately affect Black families and
communities. In the past, members of your commission and reports you
have issued noted that federal penalties for crack increased racial
disparities in the prison population. You have cautioned that these
racial disparities helped to create deep cynicism around the
fairness of our nation’s criminal justice system. We still have
significant work to do to address the issues that the commission has
wisely identified. Please vote to retroactively apply the new crack
cocaine guideline, and please reject any additional restrictions that
would limit the reach of this courageous move.