Reform Advocates Introduce Missouri Bill to End Crack-Powder Penalty Disparity 

By Leslie Acevedo

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – A criminal justice reform group here released  a statement supporting the introduction of legislation to eliminate Missouri’s disparity for crack and cocaine powder penalties.

“Under current Missouri law, someone who sells an ounce of crack (approximately the weight of two empty soda cans), receives the same penalties as someone who sells more than a pound of cocaine powder (about 18.75 pounds),” said FAMM Deputy Director of Policy Maria Goellner.

“Crack and cocaine are two forms of the same drug, and the drastic difference in penalties is a miscarriage of justice,” Goellner said.

Goellner added, “Removing this disparity will make Missouri’s criminal justice system more fair and contribute to making Missourians more safe. It’s time to remove this disparity once and for all.”

Eight states, including Missouri, treat crack and cocaine as different drugs during sentencing, said Goellner.

FAMM  noted it has “led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.”

About The Author

Leslie Acevedo is a senior undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach, majoring in Criminology/Criminal Justice. She intends to pursue a Master's Degree in Forensic Science or Criminal Justice. She aspires to become a forensic investigator.

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