A lawyers’ group says the commutation of crack cocaine sentences – including that of a Rockford man – is a good thing.
From the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, public policy director Tanya Clay House says twenty years ago, crack had a more sinister reputation than did powder cocaine, and, she says, unnecessarily so.
“When you combine the disparate nature by which many were arrested as a result of certain drugs, and the discriminatory procedures that were engaged in the criminal justice system,” says House, “you have a high proportion of people of color that were arrested and put in jail.”
House says life sentences for non-violent offenders is wrong, when drug abuse treatment could rehabilitate them.
Reynolds Wintersmith was a teenager in Rockford in 1994 when he was given a mandatory life sentence for dealing crack.