Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today responded to a U.S. Sentencing Commission report that found serious sentencing disparities for federal defendants based on race, gender, level of education and citizenship.

According to the report, since the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Booker, African American male defendants have received significantly longer sentences than white male defendants who were found guilty of similar criminal conduct.  The report also found that female offenders of all races received shorter sentences than male offenders.

Ranking Member Smith: “The Sentencing Commission’s report confirms why we need mandatory sentencing guidelines. Simply put, people who commit similar crimes should receive similar sentences. Unfortunately, without sentencing guidelines for courts to follow, some individuals have received harsher penalties than others despite committing similar crimes. 

“Justice is supposed to be equally applied.  We must have fair and equal sentences for defendants in our courts, without regard to race, gender, education or citizenship.  As Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, I believe that Congress should support sentencing legislation to restore equal justice under the law.”