By Sarah N. Lynch
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to permanently end the sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powder, a policy that has led to the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans.
In a bipartisan vote of 361-66, the House approved the EQUAL Act, short for Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law.
The disparities between crack and powder cocaine date back to war-on-drugs policies in the 1980s.
The 100 to 1 ratio was later reduced in 2010 under the Fair Sentencing Act, down to 18 to 1.
If the EQUAL Act becomes law, it would permanently and entirely eliminating the crack-cocaine disparity, and it would retroactively apply to those who were previously sentenced, allowing people to take advantage of the new law.