Smith: Keep Strong Sentences For Drug Dealers
The House Judiciary Committee today approved a bill to reduce sentences for criminals convicted of trafficking crack cocaine. The legislation, H.R. 3245, removes crack cocaine from the federal drug laws, eliminating any distinction between penalties for crack and powder cocaine trafficking offenses.
Congress enacted tough penalties for crack cocaine in the 1980s to address the surge in inner city violence and help reduce drug-related offenses. The hefty prison sentences reduced the crack epidemic and America's streets are safer today as a result.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement opposing the legislation:
"This bill sends the wrong message to drug dealers and those who traffic in ravaging human lives: It sends the message that Congress does not take drug crimes seriously.
"Reducing sentences for crack traffickers ignores the violent and devastating crack cocaine epidemic of the past and the horrible effects of crack cocaine on our neighborhoods and communities nationwide.
"This proposal threatens to return America to the days when crack cocaine decimated a generation and destroyed communities. To eliminate crack cocaine penalties from the federal drug trafficking laws would be to surrender after winning the war!"
The Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriff's Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, and the National District Attorneys Association all oppose eliminating the sentencing ratio between crack and powder cocaine.