The First Step Act and the Brutal Timidity of Criminal Law Reform

47 Pages Posted: 12 May 2020

See all articles by Mark William Osler

Mark William Osler

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)

Date Written: April 16, 2020

Abstract

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

Osler, Mark William, The First Step Act and the Brutal Timidity of Criminal Law Reform (April 16, 2020). New England Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3578123 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3578123

Mark William Osler (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
(254) 717-7032 (Phone)

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