My name is Eddie Wright. In 2004, I was charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute 50 grams of crack cocaine, under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which created a disparity between crack and powder cocaine, commonly referred to as the 100 to 1 crack law.
Under this law, a person charged with having 5,000 grams of powder cocaine would face a 10 year mandatory minimum; a person, such as myself, charged with possession of a mere 50 grams of crack cocaine, faces the same obligatory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
No class of drug is as racially bias as crack in terms of numbers of offenses. In 2009, 79 percent of 5,669 sentence crack offenders were black, versus 10 percent who were white and 10 percent who were Hispanic. Of the 6,020 powder cocaine cases: 17 percent were white offenders, 28 percent were black and 53 percent were Hispanic.
One would think this crack disparity law was drafted by Jim Crow himself.
In 2010, Congress attempted to eliminate the crack and powder cocaine disparity, but instead compromised with the 18 to 1 disparity law in the Fair Sentencing Act. The name in itself acknowledges that the crack disparity law is unfair, but still with 18 to 1 it’s just less unfair.
I was given what’s called an 851 enhancement, due to having a previous drug conviction for which I was sentenced to 90 days when I was 18 years old. The 851 enhancement, predicated on a 90 day sentence when I was 18 years old, doubled my mandatory minimum crack law from 10 to 20 years. Ultimately I was sentenced to 45 years for a non-violent federal drug offence.
In Norway, in 20011 Anders Behring Breivik, killed 77 people with gun and bomb attacks. He killed 8 people with the bomb. The other 69 human beings were mostly teenagers that he shot and killed at a summer camp.
He was sentenced to the maximum of 21 years.
This contrast stood out to me, not only because of his maximum sentence of 21 years, but because he was recently denied parole. I have over 17 years in prison for a non-violent federal drug offence in America and don’t even have an opportunity for parole, it no longer exist.
Still, I accepted full responsibility for my actions. I was immature, narrow-minded and participated in a destructive criminal lifestyle. I recognize the negative affect my choices had on my community, but more importantly the devastating impact my actions had on my family. When I got sentenced to 45 years, my mother, sister, wife, children and the rest of my family got sentenced also. Their unconditional love and support inspired me to change the way I choose to live my life.
The first step on this journey was to remain drug and alcohol free. I’ve been sober for over 16 years. Next, came my most important step which was establishing a personal relationship with my higher power. With God, I had the strength and fortitude to right my wrongs and make amends for the hurt and pain I’ve caused myself, my family and society.
In 2008, upon arriving at USP Canaan, I began to teach physical fitness, wellness and Yoga classes. This is at one of the most violent penitentiaries in America and I’ve taught these classes every morning of the week for over a decade. I’m the head of my spiritual group, where I speak at our weekly meetings in the chapel. I’ve earned over 70 certificates for my participation in programs. I’m currently in the final phase of the Challenge program which is a modified therapeutic community that addresses drug abuse and criminal thinking errors. I’m already a mentor in this program, a position a selected few are normally given after you graduate.
I’ve written over 12 books, two of which have been published, making me an Amazon best selling author. I write spiritual self-help books as a way to help others find healing, peace, and happiness. I’m the first father to publish a memoir of how I came to accept and love my son unconditionally as a member of the LGBTQ community. This has been one of my proudest achievements, not only because this helped heal our relationship, but I’ve been contacted by others who were helped through the sharing of our experience.
I teach classes on creative writing, public speaking and business economics. My focus has been to do all I can to to better myself, while helping others better themselves. This has given my life meaning and purpose.
My plans upon my release is to continue to give back to my community and be a productive member of society, by visiting schools, youth at risk programs, and group homes with the goal of deterring others from making the same mistakes I did.
Currently, there is a bipartisan bill waiting on a vote in the Senate called The Equal Act,(Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law) that would do what it’s name states, eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine.
I believe in speaking things into existence and acting as if it’s already done. So when this Equal Act passes into law, I will be filing a motion for a sentence reduction to time served.
Due to Covid restrictions the prison has been on modified lock down. I haven’t been able to give my children a hug or my mother a kiss for over two years. I feel that the more than 17 years of incarceration I’ve served is an excessive amount of time for a non-violent drug offense.
I’m a changed and fully rehabilitated man, who is humbling asking for you to please sign this petition to reduce my sentence to time served.