The ACLU advocates for the reduction of sentences for a wide variety of crimes at both the state and federal levels. We have operated as a consistent voice before the U.S. Sentencing Commission, arguing for smart reforms to the sentencing process that can roll back mass incarceration while respecting public safety.
We recently joined in the successful campaign for the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, which among other changes, greatly reduced the racially biased sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine. Previous sentencing practices treated a gram of crack cocaine as the equivalent of 100 grams of powder cocaine, despite a lack of scientific evidence for such a disparity. We also supported the recent two-level reduction for all drug crimes in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which includes the formula used to compute recommended sentences for defendants convicted of drug offenses. With further reforms like these, we can help return the principles of fairness and proportionality to the criminal justice system.