The First Step Act and the Brutal Timidity of Criminal Law Reform
47 Pages Posted: 12 May 2020
Date Written: April 16, 2020
It took decades to partially correct the egregiously wrong 100-1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine in federal law. Marijuana is still a Schedule I narcotic, despite universal condemnation of that categorization. Even when we get it, criminal law reform comes achingly slowly and with brutal timidity, at a stunning cost in lives and freedom. This article explores the grim history of this dynamic in the modern United States, explores the causes, and suggests solutions. It will appear in the New England Law Journal with responses from a variety of legal analysts.
Keywords: criminal justice, sentencing, criminal law, First Step Act, Donald Trump, crack cocaine, marijuana
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation