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The White House
For Immediate Release

Congress Passes Monumental Fair Sentencing Act and Restores Fairness to Cocaine Sentencing

Washington, DC– Today, the United States Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (S.1789), reducing the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine violations.

“I applaud the passage in the House today of the Fair Sentencing Act, which will dramatically reduce a 100-to-1 disparity between trafficking offenses for crack and powder cocaine,” said White House Drug Control Policy Director, Gil Kerlikowske. “The Obama Administration is committed to the fair and equal application of our Nation's laws. The Fair Sentencing Act marks the first time in 40 years that Congress has reduced a mandatory minimum sentence.

“As Director of National Drug Control Policy, I'm charged with ensuring the United States is doing all it can to reduce drug use and its consequences. Our efforts to do so should be grounded in science and evidence, and there is no scientific basis for the crack/powder sentencing disparity,” said Kerlikowske.

The National Drug Control Strategy promotes a balanced and holistic approach for reducing drug abuse and its consequences. The Strategy highlights several key principles for breaking the cycle of drug use, crime, delinquency, and incarceration including: providing communities with the capacity to prevent drug use and drug-related crime; developing infrastructure to promote alternatives to incarceration when appropriate; and using community corrections programs to monitor and support drug-involved offenders.

Reducing drug use and its consequences will require a sustained and effective collaboration between the drug prevention, drug treatment and law enforcement communities.

“By promoting laws and policies that treat all Americans equally, and by working to amend or end those that do not, we can only increase public confidence in the criminal justice system and help create a safer and healthier Nation for us all,” said Kerlikowske.