Washington (AP) Attorney General Michael Mukasey is trying to win over police in his war against the early release of thousands of crack cocaine convicts.
Some 1,500 convicts are scheduled to be released as early as next week. New data from the U.S. sentencing commission suggest that of them, one-third have little or no criminal history.
Mukasey told the fraternal order of police in Washington that nearly 80 percent of the 19,500 convicts who can apply for reduction in their sentences have some kind of criminal past. He says that means they're more likely to commit another crime.
The sentencing commission unanimously approved changes to federal guidelines to close a gap between long prison sentences for crack offenders, who are overwhelmingly black, compared to powder cocaine offenders, who tend to be white.
Mukasey says he's willing to address the disparity -- but only if congress restricts the retroactive sentence reductions to first-time, nonviolent offenders.
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