FAMM Members in Action

Post Date: September 22, 2015

Join other FAMM members who have raised their voices in support of sentencing reform!

Become an advocate

Four women came to Washington, D.C. to participate in our event on Capitol Hill. They shared their stories and told lawmakers to support smarter sentencing reform efforts.

Debi Campbell is a former prisoner who now speaks out about the injustices of mandatory minimum sentences. Watch the clip below of Debi testifying before Congress in support of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. 

See also, Senator Dick Durbin declaring Debi’s 19-year sentence as unjust.

Nathan Warner, a 17-year-old senior at Independence High School in Wisconsin, created a mini documentary to educate his peers about mandatory minimum sentences. 

Submit an op-ed to your local newspaper

Lisa Angelos: 55 Years Behind Bars: Why Mandatory Minimums Need Reform
Lisa Angelos: Mandatory Sentences Can Defy Logic
Cindy Martinson: Judges Need More Discretion on Sentences

Write a letter to the editor of your local news outlet in response to an article about sentencing reform

Hope Mustakim: Throw away the key?

We can all agree the shooting death of Kate Steinle, an American citizen, by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who was deported and then returned to the U.S. illegally, is a tragedy. But I hope we can see that our response to this tragedy should be sound and wise, not careless and fearful. Creating a five-year mandatory minimum for illegal re-entry would be in the second category and do nothing to stop illegal re-entry or prevent similar crimes. [“Throwing illegals in clink for five years is no answer to immigration dilemma,” Waco Trib, Aug. 12.]

How do I know this? Look at the drug mandatory minimums of the 1980s. These one-size-fits-all sentences have not curbed crime or drug use. These sentences were meant to punish the worst of the worst but have instead locked up huge numbers of low-level, nonviolent offenders, overcrowding our prisons and draining tax dollars in the process. Congressional leaders in both parties are currently working to pass sentencing reform that will make our federal criminal system smarter and our streets safer. Handing out longer sentences for illegal re-entry won’t just cancel out these reforms, they will also take money away from local police and prosecutors — the people who actively work to keep us safer.

Kate Steinle’s killer slipped through the cracks in our immigration system. Congress should figure out a smart way to address those fissures. New mandatory minimum laws aren’t the answer.

HOPE MUSTAKIM,

Waco

Diana Nesukh: Sentence reform support is needed

The July 20 editorial on the need for criminal justice reform (“A push for justice reform”) did an excellent job highlighting the incredible bipartisan support for policies that will make our system fairer and our streets safer.

Unfortunately, neither of Oregon’s senators — Ron Wyden or Jeff Merkley — has co-sponsored any of the leading sentencing-reform bills this year. In fact, only one member of Oregon’s congressional delegation, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, has put his name on sentencing reform legislation.

That’s especially disappointing because reforming mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders is a cause that’s brought together advocates from across the political spectrum, including the Koch brothers, the NAACP, the American Conservative Union and the American Civil Liberties Union.

In Washington, D.C., tea party favorites Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., have joined leading Democrats — including President Obama — to support mandatory minimum sentencing reform.

What are Oregon’s representatives waiting for?

DIANA NESUKH,

Portland

Carol Allen: Let judges decide drug sentences

I agree completely with your editorial in support of combating heroin abuse without passing new mandatory minimum sentences (#TransPArency? More is Needed, Dec. 10).

Some prosecutors say they want to give drug treatment to heroin addicts and put dealers in prison, but what about those who sell drugs in order to feed their addictions? Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to put these addicts in treatment, too, rather than wasting millions on more prisons? 

We should let our judges judge. Let them consider all the important facts before imposing an appropriate punishment. Mandatory minimums prevent them from doing that.

CARROL ALLEN

Gladwyne