***Edit-- Looks like Clinton may only oppose making this change retroactive. Originally posted suggesting she disagreed fully with the change but actually generally supports it. Body is edited for accuracy. Definitely opposes retroactivity though. I still disagree with her stance, and the stance does still differ from other Dems. Sorry for my misreading of the source. Thanks for pointing this out people.
Spotted from Stephanie Mencimer over at Mother Jones( MojoBlogPost)-- the Supreme Court has just upheld the actions of a U.S judge who issued more lenient sentences than are officially required. Currently, punishments for crack offenses of various kinds are much more extreme than for comparable cocaine offenses (and are, in my opinion, draconian). Undoubtedly, this sentencing disparity has contributed to racial disparities in our huge prison population.
Hillary has expressed opposition to making the reform retroactive. The reform itself is strongly opposed by the Bush Justice Department and Republican legislators on the Judicial committee. Mencimer suggests that this could become a campaign issue, as other Democratic candidates support the reforms and indeed also support making them retroactive, an issue which will be decided shortly. Keep in mind that these reforms are relative to an extreme standard and that punishments will remain far from a slap on the wrist.
What think you Kossacks? Do you think the reforms are a good idea in the first place? Crack is awfully dangerous. On the other hand, many like myself find the huge number and proportion of non-violent drug offenders serving time for crimes like possession in this country a travesty. It's costly in human and economic terms and is ineffective. Do some like the dismiss Clinton's move as savvy politics? Mencimer reports that the move was likely prompted by pollster Mark Penn. I don't like Clinton's stance one bit, whether it's out of ideology or strategy. Am I wrong?
To me, her position is another confimation that Clinton leans farthest right of our Democratic candidates and is the least unlike George Bush. A look at her corporate contributors is consistent with this notion. Whatever poses she may strike, she hasn't exactly been an inspiring leader with respect to international relations either-- e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran and exhibits comparatively high potential for hawkery to the others. With respect to the issue at hand, scientific consensus is that prevention and treatment are superior to punishment in dealing with the very real problems that drugs can pose, a consensus not typically embraced by those who hold the pursestrings.