Yes, one of the ways the criminal justice system is biased is drug law conviction minimum sentencing for drug related possession. It takes 100 grams of cocaine powder to get the same punishiment, 5 yrs w/o parole, as 5 grams of crack. The USA criminal justice system has a glaring double standard for the affluent people to tend to consume better quality drugs.
Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine.
US law now treats the rich and the poor completely differently. As an example, during the criminal banking and stock activity of 2008, no prison terms were handed to any Wall Street or Banking racketeer despite the outrageous severity and damage of the crimes. The occupy Wall-Street protestors however, were beaten and sentenced to jail by the dozens (some facing up to 7 years). The U.S. legal system has lost almost all of its moral authority due to hypocrisy and corruption; it is a sick joke. Worst of all, the U.S. Justice system has been reduced to a corporate cash cow for the private prison industry through collusion and bribery of judges and officials. Lastly, even if a rich criminal does face jail time, it will be a fraction of the time faced by the common man.
It should be understood, however, that the original, larger sentencing disparity was emphatically not due to racism in the justice system or in the legislature. The Congressional Record shows that in 1986, when the strict, federal anti-crack legislation was first being debated, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)—deeply concerned about the degree to which crack was decimating black communities across the United States—strongly supported the legislation and actually pressed for even harsher penalties. In fact, a few years earlier, CBC members had pushed President Reagan to create the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
It should further be noted that the vast majority of cocaine arrests in the U.S. are made at the state—not the federal—level, where sentencing disparities between cases involving crack and powder cocaine generally have never existed. Indeed, only 13 states punish crack convictions more harshly than powder convictions, and the state-level differentials are much smaller than those on the federal level have ever been. Moreover, drug possession accounts for fewer than 2% of all the offenses that propel individuals into federal prisons. Those most likely to be incarcerated for drug convictions are not mere users, but traffickers who are largely career criminals with very long rap sheets.
It is also noteworthy that critics of the crack-vs.-powder penalty gap generally view the alleged injustice solely from the criminal's perspective. That is, they ignore the fact that the harsher punishments for crack violations harm only a small subset of the black population—namely drug dealers and users—while benefting the great mass of law-abiding people in black neighborhoods. Also commonly overlooked is the fact that black Americans constitute a smaller proportion of the people arrested for drug violations, than of those arrested for violent crimes. Thus, even if federal courts punished crack violations as lightly as powder cocaine infractions, the black prison population would scarcely shrink at all.
And let me add, how about people stop doing crimes?