DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded the passage of the EQUAL Act out of the House Judiciary Committee.
“Advancing the EQUAL Act out of the House Judiciary Committee represents a welcome step forward in finally rectifying the decades-long federal crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity that has devastated Black and Brown communities,” said. Sen. Booker. “As we continue to fight against systemic racial inequities, I urge all members of the House and Senate to support this critical piece of legislation that will help right the wrongs of our nation’s failed War on Drugs and reform our broken criminal justice system.”
“The crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity disproportionally impacts people of color, with 81 percent of those convicted of federal crack offenses from 2015 to 2019 being Black,” said Sen. Durbin. “We need to end this injustice once and for all by eliminating the crack-powder disparity. I’m glad the House Judiciary Committee took this important step forward on our bill today and I will continue to work with Senator Booker to advance it in the Senate on a bipartisan basis.”
After passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, sentencing for crack and powder cocaine offenses differed and were criticized over the years for lacking scientific justification and disproportionately impacting people of color. In January 2021, Senators Booker and Durbin introduced the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act to eliminate the crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity and re-sentence those previously convicted or sentenced for a federal offense involving cocaine.