Obama urged to reform mandatory minimum sentences in name of racial equality

Obama urged to reform mandatory minimum sentences in name of racial equality

President Barack Obama’s recent statement regarding Trayvon Martin has sentencing reform supporters hoping for action on racial inequities in drug law enforcement.

In a surprise statement on Friday, Obama addressed the reaction to the trial of George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty after killing a black teenager during an altercation last year.

The verdict, which has inflamed racial tension, is an opportunity to examine the racial disparities in the legal system, said Obama.

“There is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws,” he said. “And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.”

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