Via the front page of this morning’s WaPo: a federal panel is “considering reducing the sentences of inmates incarcerated in federal prisons for crack cocaine offenses, which would make thousands of people immediately eligible to be freed.”

Talk about justice: The idea here is to stop institutional racism. For years, the feds have punished crack cocaine offenses more severely than powder cocaine offenses. And wouldn’t you know—crack offenses, as the story points out, are generally committed by African Americans, and powder offenses are generally the doing of white people.

The panel in question here, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, has already addressed the crack-powder discrepancy for future offenses. Now it’s addressing whether to make it all retroactive, a step that would reduce the sentences of nearly 20,000 people, about 86 percent of whom are black.

The Post story takes a while before it gets around to saying that the Bush administration opposes this measure. Perhaps because that’s not much of a surprise.

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