Legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday would significantly reduce the disparity in sentences handed out to those convicted of crack and powder cocaine charges.

Currently, a person convicted of crack cocaine possession gets the same mandatory jail time as someone with 100 times the same quantity of powder cocaine. That 100-1 ratio has been particularly hard on the black community, where convictions on federal crack laws are more prevalent.

Under the measure, approved by a voice vote, the ratio would be reduced to 18-1.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who worked out the legislation with Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, said he had initially wanted a straight 1-to-1 ratio, but that the final product was a good bipartisan compromise.

This is an improvement, true. But under the good compromise, a person found with 500 grams of powdered cocaine (more popular among white people) would face the same five-year sentence as a person found with only 28 grams of crack cocaine (more popular among black people). Viva la Democratically controlled Congress!