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Anyone convicted of participating in a "continuing criminal enterprise." This is another label that's typically applied to drug offenders — anyone who's an "organizer, supervisor or manager" of a group of five or more people dealing drugs can be hit with a conviction for a "career criminal enterprise." The statute isn't used that often — only 239 people were convicted under it from 2006 to 2013, according to data from the US Sentencing Commission.
But 77 percent of the time, it was used against black or Hispanic defendants. According to a 2013 report from the Sentencing Project, 62.3 percent of federal prisoners serving life sentences are African American — and 16.3 percent are Hispanic.
Is criminal-justice reform the one big thing that could pass Congress before 2016?
Maybe — but any bill would have to go through the Senate Judiciary Committee and its new chairman, Sen.
[This] suggests that African-Americans have a higher risk of conviction for a drug trafficking crime than do similar White drug traffickers." In 2000, 69 percent of newly-sentenced "career offenders" were black.
(Interestingly, only 17 percent were Hispanic.) Anyone with more than one federal conviction. It's rare that someone gets convicted of a federal crime on two separate occasions.
And some of the exclusions raise serious questions about the racial makeup of the prisoners who will be helped.
"Career offenders." The bill excludes any inmate with a "criminal history" that places them in the highest category under the federal sentencing guidelines.
So it's not clear how the pool of prisoners eligible for the CORRECTION Act's reforms would look, on the whole.Fifty percent of the people who were convicted in 2013 for things that would make them ineligible for the CORRECTIONS Act are white, which is much greater than the proportion of whites in federal prison.But that doesn't look at all the prisoners sentenced before 2013, during the boom years of mass incarceration.Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who's a known skeptic (at best) of reducing prison sentences.The bipartisan reform bill that's generally agreed to have a chance of passing this year is the smallest and most moderate of the bills that have been on the table — and one that will help disproportionately white and white-collar inmates.