Humanists Praise Passage of Fair Sentencing Act


Aug. 18, 2010

Reprinted from an American Humanist Association Aug. 4, 2010 press release.

Leaders of the American Humanist Association (AHA) expressed approval of President Obama's signing the Fair Sentencing Act into law, significantly reducing the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

"This corrects a historical injustice within our legal system," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "The previous laws were racially biased and perpetuated the social and economic hardships already plaguing many disadvantaged members of our community."

The Fair Sentencing Act, which was signed by President Obama on Tuesday, is expected to diminish disproportionate racial divide within prisons, reduce prison over-population, and save millions in tax-payer dollars. The act will target high-level dealers and traffickers while limiting the excessive penalties for low-level crack offenders. The AHA supported the bill, lobbying members of Congress for their votes. 

"Justice shouldn't be dependent upon class or race," said Speckhardt. "Correcting such flawed legal processes is a win for our society. This is a step forward for all of us, though there is still a long way to go."

The AHA's 2005 resolution on drug policy advocates "a world of mutual care and concern." It reads, "Current drug laws, including mandatory minimum sentences, tend to disproportionately affect people with few financial resources, leading to selective enforcement and disparities in sentencing." And concludes that, "What's needed are rational and pragmatic solutions that focus on harm reduction as a means to resolve the negative consequences of drug use."