Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, a generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar. That means when you give $10 to Democracy Now!, we'll receive $20. So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

Mandatory Minimums

StorySeptember 10, 1997
Watch iconWatch Full Show

Federal drug laws require that a first-time offender caught with five grams of crack cocaine receive five years in prison. A first-time offender with powder cocaine would have to possess 500 grams to receive the same sentence, even though the two drugs are pharmacologically the same.

Today in Washington DC, Congressional, religious and civil rights leaders will be rallying for legislation that would eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing.

Also attending the rally will be a group of high school students who’ve traveled all the way from Ohio to protest the case of a 24-year-old African American student, Kemba Smith, who was sentenced to 24 years on prison for her peripheral role in a drug conspiracy involving her old boyfriend.

Guests:

  • Gus Smith, the father of 24-year-old Kemba Smith.
  • Monaco Pratt, the national project director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which seeks to reform mandatory sentencing laws on a Federal and state level.
  • Anthony Graham, a teacher at the Colonel White High School in Dayton, Ohio, who is leading a group of students to Congress today to protest mandatory sentencing guidelines.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation