US Attorney Gen. Mike Mukasey is worried that giving crack offenders a chance at slightly early releases from prison is a terrible thing because "many of them" are "violent gang members."
"1,600 convicted crack dealers, many of them violent gang members, will be eligible for immediate release into communities nationwide," Mukasey said, according to the Washington Post.
A federal panel voted to retroactively apply a law that eases the 100-times disparity in the sentences between crack offenses and powder cocaine offenses. Mukasey wants Congress to block the early-out language, which eventually will allow about 20,000 inmates to be released over seven to 10 years.
Of the 1,600 Mukasey referred to, how many are violent gang members? Mukasey doesn't say, probably because he doesn't know if the number is 1 or 1,599.
And how does he know they are gang members in the first place? Mukasey, again, doesn't say. Is it simply because so many of them are poor and black? Is that his criteria?
How many powder cocaine dealers are members of violent gangs? How many marijuana traffickers? Both drugs are common among gangs. Funny Mukasey did not call for penalties for those crimes to match the old crack sentences.
The crack sentencing disparity was a blight on the criminal justice system. It wasn't just defendants and defense lawyers who found it unjust -- judges and prosecutors did, too.
Mukasey's fear-mongering is disgusting and, worse, he is calling for people to remain in prison for one crime because they may be guilty of unproven others.
That is not how America is supposed to work.