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Pelavin: "We commend Congress and the President for their work to ensure that our justice system lives up to the highest ideals of our nation."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 3, 2010 -- In response to today's enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today we celebrate vital progress in the movement toward a more just system of justice. For more than two decades, the disparity in sentences for crack and powder cocaine convictions has defied their pharmaceutical similarities and resulted in the disproportionate incarceration of African American offenders. Today's enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act, reducing the 100-1 ratio to an 18-1 ratio, will help remedy this significant flaw in our criminal justice system. The new law will also direct federal law enforcement resources toward large-scale drug traffickers, where they are desperately needed. Although elimination of the disparity would eradicate the most glaring instance of racial disparity in our nation's criminal legal system, the adjusted ratio is much-needed progress. As Jews we are taught "tzedek tzedek tirdof," to seek and pursue a just system of justice. We commend Congress and the President for their work to ensure that our justice system lives up to the highest ideals of our nation.