900 inmates might be released early

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GREENVILLE, S.C. --- As many as 900 federal inmates in South Carolina serving time on crack cocaine convictions might be released early under new sentencing guidelines.

The reductions are aimed at eliminating the large disparity between sentences for crack cocaine and those for powder cocaine offenses.

The number of inmates leaving prison early will be spread out over the next 30 years, depending on the length of their sentences, Quincy Avinger, the deputy chief of the South Carolina District U.S. Probation Office, told The Greenville News.

At least 17 people have been released from prison in the Upstate in the month since federal judges have been able to reduce crack cocaine sentences. Those released are under probationary supervision, Deputy Chief Avinger said.

Probation officers still have about a third of the estimated 1,300 inmates serving crack sentences left to review. The probation office makes recommendations on eligible inmates to the public defender's office, said Ben Stepp, an assistant federal public defender in Greenville.

The public defenders present the recommendations to the U.S. attorney's office, which looks at what other crimes a person was convicted of as well as his or her record in prison.

"We, the government, are not opposing the motions unless there is post-sentencing evidence that the defendant is either a danger to the community or for some other reason just flat doesn't qualify," said Nancy Wicker, a spokeswoman for South Carolina's U.S. attorney.

In December, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to allow about 19,500 federal prison inmates to seek reductions in their crack cocaine sentences.

The decision follows years of criticism about how severely the federal court system treated those convicted of crack cocaine offenses as opposed to those convicted of other drug crimes.

The sentences for crack can be three to six times longer than those for powder cocaine, according to a sentencing commission report.

In Greenville, the federal public defender's office has handled at least two-dozen requests since March 3 and only one inmate has been denied a sentence reduction, Mr. Stepp said.

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justus4
124
Points
justus4 04/08/08 - 05:06 am
0
0
Another result of disparate
Unpublished

Another result of disparate sentences started in the early nineties. Some say targeted toward young minority men to increase prison populations. (The industry is boomimg) What's clear is, these people will require retraining and education skills to be successful. If thats not done, most will be right back in months, because for many, the damage has been done. And of course, race was central to the implementation of this bias government policy. Everybody looks, few people see...Truth

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 04/08/08 - 05:22 am
0
0
There has always been a huge

There has always been a huge difference in the effect of crack and cocaine. They're two drastically different drugs. The much cheaper and much more dangerous "crack" has been the stereotypical "drug of choice for the black man" for quite some time, thus justus4's usual whine about racial disparity. The early release of crackheads on to society is a political decision that will cost lives.

Augusta resident
1370
Points
Augusta resident 04/08/08 - 06:47 am
0
0
They were not using it, they

They were not using it, they were selling it.

shivas
2
Points
shivas 04/08/08 - 06:52 am
0
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Very funny patriciathomas.

Very funny patriciathomas. Keep repeating the far-right racist mantra. Cocaine is cocaine, and drug addiction should not be a crime.

fallendown
0
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fallendown 04/08/08 - 07:23 am
0
0
First "crack" don't care what

First "crack" don't care what color you are. Second you can't make crack with out the powder cocaine and it was not fair to get more time if you cook it back into a base form. The sentencing should got up for powder cocaine, not down for "crack" cocaine.

christian134
2
Points
christian134 04/08/08 - 08:19 am
0
0
Justus4 hey and a good

Justus4 hey and a good morning to you little radical racist person.....You know what everything you say contains some kind of so-called righteous indignation toward a society bent on destroying your race...Give it a rest...The only ones destroying your race is your race...

karmakills123
12
Points
karmakills123 04/08/08 - 08:22 am
0
0
"Cocaine is cocaine, and drug

"Cocaine is cocaine, and drug addiction should not be a crime".................Ok shivas I agree with you that the sentence should be the same but I do not agree that drug addition is not a crime.. for many must do criminal acts to sustain the habit...and those who sell the nasty stuff should recieve LIFE.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 04/08/08 - 08:34 am
0
0
For those of you who don't

For those of you who don't know crack is a form of cocaine. I feel that you shouldn't reduce the time for crack charges but increase the time for cocaine charges. But white people beware meth is slowly sneaking up on your race.

christian134
2
Points
christian134 04/08/08 - 08:47 am
0
0
It is more than sneaking in

It is more than sneaking in double standard it is exploding...All this is from a society that has produced a generation of "whatever feels good is just right for me" rationalization. It is quite a frightening place this nation has become...Only with the coming together of people who care about others before themselves and seek earnestly to humbly ask God to help us then and only then will we see change....

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 04/08/08 - 09:54 am
0
0
Let the sentences stand! j4,

Let the sentences stand! j4, you go stand with them. Now we get a potential of 900 a-holes on the streets again; doing what they know best.

creolechick
76
Points
creolechick 04/08/08 - 10:45 am
0
0
The people on here are some

The people on here are some of the most racist people I've seen. Why must you make everything white against black? We all need to come together to fight against drug abuse.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 04/08/08 - 11:01 am
0
0
Welcome to Augusta

Welcome to Augusta creolechick.

teabag1963
0
Points
teabag1963 04/08/08 - 11:30 am
0
0
if any of you bleeding heart

if any of you bleeding heart fools has worked in law enforcement raise your hand.criminals do not get sentenced for first time drug offenses,usually this is their 3rd or 4th time in front of the court.it doesn't matter whether you sale powder, or crack you're still a good for nothing pusher, period! i don't want you on the streets because you have shown that you are not going to contribute to society and will only be an additional burden.make the distribution charges equal, but keep this trash out of our neighborhoods, because when you release them early,they're not going to the employment office, they blend right back into the "we don't snitch neighborhoods" with the bars on every window.

Hiru
0
Points
Hiru 04/08/08 - 12:26 pm
0
0
The sentecing guideline was

The sentecing guideline was is bais against those sold and had posession of crack cocaine versus poweder cocaine. Black people are far more likely to posses crack cocacaine and whites are far more likely to posses powder cocaine. I am not trying to be racially divisive, but those are the raw numbers. I agree that the powder cocaine guidline should have been strengthned versus lowering the crack cocaine guidline. No one should fool themselves into thinking that all of these offenders will take this second chance and become productive citizens. Looking for a job with a felony is a kin to the scarlet letter. As a black male, I know better than most that it is already hard enough to shake the image of a savage from many peoples minds. (Rap videos don't help us out at all) If you are a true conservative then you want to try every method possile to lower the tax payer's bill. Outpatient rehab is much cheaper than jail. The truth is however, if the person isn't ready, then it won't work. It costs much more to house a prisoner (over $30,000) than to do rehab. Of course if you are a Hawk, then continue to pay your taxes until half of our population has a jail record.

jack
12
Points
jack 04/08/08 - 12:34 pm
0
0
Strange that you can make no

Strange that you can make no "ex post facto (after the fact) law to sentence someone who is convicted, but iseems to allow it to let the scumbags go.

jack
12
Points
jack 04/08/08 - 12:39 pm
0
0
HIRU,no one forced these

HIRU,no one forced these scumbags to use either powder or crack, but once hooked, extremely hard to break the habit. I can't find any type of discrimination in sentencing those who peddle crack though the majority are black. Their choice.

GETACLUE
0
Points
GETACLUE 04/08/08 - 12:52 pm
0
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Hiru,I am glad that you

Hiru,I am glad that you stated the truth without putting so much racial hatred into it. What most people do not realize is that the sentencing guidelines are so different between crack and powder cocaine. Powder cocaine has long been the play drug for the white upper class and crack has been the poor mans (mostly black) drug of choice. Unfortunately the people who write the laws are not poor and black so there is truth to justus4's babbling and racial bullsh#@. I just wish that instead of lowering cracks' guidelines, they would raise the guidelines for powder. Let Susie Suburbs taste prison time too. Lets face it anyone dealing drugs of any race is better off in a hole.

Hiru
0
Points
Hiru 04/08/08 - 12:54 pm
0
0
Jack, I never said that the

Jack, I never said that the judges, police or anyone else were discriminating against black people, poor people, or any other subgroup. You are absouletly right in saying no one forced these people to sell or use crack. If you look at the numbers more blacks were sentenced to jail, per capita, than any other race. More low income people were sentenced than any other income group. It is really sad, that you have made such overwhelming judgement of these people. I am guessing you are christian as well. You should know better that calling these people names, especially if you are not willing to do it to their face. My only point was that we have 2 choices, throw every convicted drug addict in jail for the rest of their natural lives or try to make it possible for them to contribute to society. I am not saying let them free. But conservatives hate to pay more taxes and locking people up will continue this trend. If you are ok with our taxes going toward people who we (Tax payers) have supported all their lives, then I will live with it. I think we can do better.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 04/08/08 - 01:32 pm
0
0
a raid in a georgia state

a raid in a georgia state prison cell recently uncovered pot, crack, meth, powder, valium and 25 000 in cash. the war on drugs is a joke. legalize drugs..............

HippieChick
0
Points
HippieChick 04/08/08 - 01:56 pm
0
0
Poor people regardless of

Poor people regardless of color are the ones who can't afford to hire qualified attorneys that would keep them from going to jail. Instead they get some court appointed attorney that's not going to use the effort required to defend someone properly. Court appointed attorney’s do the minimum of what they have to in order write it off on their taxes. There are 2 different set of standards in our society and it's not just black & white it's the have's & the have not's.

toppergem
126
Points
toppergem 04/08/08 - 02:03 pm
0
0
Make drugs legal like they

Make drugs legal like they did years ago with liquor and then let the chips fall where they may.

shamorris
0
Points
shamorris 04/08/08 - 02:26 pm
0
0
patriciathomas yet again you

patriciathomas yet again you never seem to know what to say and when to say it. You say that crack has always been the drug of choice for the black man how do you know and where did you get your inside information from. Drugs is drugs no matter who uses them but dont fool yourself your white male population love crack and cocaine to. Oh but i forgot I guess its better to do meth since this seems to be their choice have you seen the news lately nine out of ten are white. Go Figure!

marien
29
Points
marien 04/08/08 - 02:38 pm
0
0
shamorris I agree, but you

shamorris I agree, but you know pt knows a lot about nothing.

Farful
7
Points
Farful 04/08/08 - 04:27 pm
0
0
philosophers all.......blacks

philosophers all.......blacks smoke crack because it's cheap

Farful
7
Points
Farful 04/08/08 - 04:33 pm
0
0
also, check how many of the

also, check how many of the 900 are white

patriciathomas
44
Points
patriciathomas 04/08/08 - 05:09 pm
0
0
"crack is the stereotypical

"crack is the stereotypical choice of black men" does not mean only blacks smoke it. It doesn't even imply that. Don't twist my words just to make yourself mad. The release is still a political move to release blacks from prison. See ghtty's 4:33pm post.

Augusta resident
1370
Points
Augusta resident 04/08/08 - 05:41 pm
0
0
lawyers are charging $9,000

lawyers are charging $9,000 to get them back into court under the new law, you do the math.

MtnMan
1
Points
MtnMan 04/08/08 - 06:27 pm
0
0
SHIVAS I am so glad to see

SHIVAS I am so glad to see you put Pat Thomas "in her place". Seems she just HAS TO COMMENT ON EVERYTHING. I FOR ONE GET TIRED OF SEEING HER NAME.

patriciathomas
44
Points
patriciathomas 04/08/08 - 07:32 pm
0
0
patriciathomas,

patriciathomas, patriciathomas, patriciathomas

patriciathomas
44
Points
patriciathomas 04/08/08 - 07:33 pm
0
0
MtnMan, wouldn't it be even

MtnMan, wouldn't it be even better if shivas put patriciathomas in her place AND used truth and fact to do it?

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