Mandatory Minimum Policy Reform and the Sentencing of Crack Cocaine Defendants: An Analysis of the Fair Sentencing Act

44 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2016

See all articles by David Bjerk

David Bjerk

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) affected the U.S. federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws for to crack cocaine offenders, and represented the first Congressional reform of sentencing laws in over 20 years. A primary goal of this legislation was to lessen the harshness of sentences for crack cocaine offenders and decrease the sentencing gap between crack defendants and powder cocaine defendants. While both the mean sentence length for crack offenders fell following the implementation of the FSA, these changes appear to primarily reflect the continuation of on-going sentencing trends that were initiated by a variety of non- Congressional reforms to federal sentencing policy that commenced around 2007. However, the FSA appears to have been helpful in allowing these trends to continue past 2010.

Keywords: mandatory minimums, fair sentencing act, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, sentencing guidelines

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Bjerk, David, Mandatory Minimum Policy Reform and the Sentencing of Crack Cocaine Defendants: An Analysis of the Fair Sentencing Act. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10237. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2846328

David Bjerk (Contact Author)

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
117
Abstract Views
593
rank
245,295
PlumX Metrics