A Reexamination of Sentencing and the Crack/Cocaine Debate

Richard D. Hartley, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Sean Maddan, University of Nebraska at Omaha

There has long been a debate about the different levels of sentencing for crack and cocaine offenders. The debate stems around the fact that more affluent people are inclined to use cocaine, which they can easily afford, and less affluent people are more inclined to use crack, the cheaper cocaine derivative. This paper examines the relationship between cocaine offenders, crack offenders, and the sentences each type of offender receives at the federal level. Findings, which support previous research, indicate that there is indeed disparity in sentencing between each type of offender. Policy implications are also discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006