FAMM Urges Review of Pennsylvania Sentencing Laws

Post Date: August 23, 2016

Contact: Leila McDowell

Leading National Sentencing Reform Group Calls for Review of Pennsylvania’s Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws

Joins National, State Advocates in Seeking Review by Justice Reinvestment Working Group

WASHINGTON — FAMM today sent a letter to Pennsylvania’s Justice Reinvestment Working Group, comprising 34 members from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches and chaired by Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, urging the Working Group to study and address the issue of mandatory minimum sentencing laws as part of its current process. The letter was signed by more than a dozen Pennsylvania and national criminal justice and taxpayer advocates from across the ideological spectrum, including the Commonwealth Foundation, Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, American Conservative Union Foundation, and the Pennsylvania ACLU.

“The bipartisan leaders in the Working Group agreed to examine policy reforms that will increase public safety while reining in wasteful spending,” FAMM Vice President Kevin Ring said. “Given their high cost and limited, if any, public safety benefits, mandatory minimum sentencing laws deserve the Working Group’s careful scrutiny.”

The letter reads, in part:

In an effort to identify a potential cost driver at the front end of Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, we respectfully request that JRI Phase II include a comprehensive study of Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum laws before they were struck down, as well as the impact of how the elimination of mandatory minimums has impacted criminal justice outcomes. This study would include, at a minimum, the cost associated with mandatory minimums, their application (including any disparities in their application), and their impact on public safety. Additionally, we request that any recommendations from JRI to the legislature include whether to reestablish any of the mandatory minimums struck down last year by the Supreme Court.

FAMM, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, promotes commonsense sentencing and prison policies that increase public safety.

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