Get Ready for a Big Day in Washington!

Post Date: September 17, 2013

A big thanks to all of you who are planning to come to Washington, D.C. for tomorrow’s hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on mandatory minimums. Please read below for more details on getting to the hearing and getting the most out of this experience.

For those of you who can’t attend, you can watch the hearing online. You can also help FAMM by writing to your U.S. Senators and asking them to support the Justice Safety Valve Act. Encourage your family and friends to also write! 

Important note: the U.S. Senate will NOT be voting on or passing any legislation at tomorrow’s hearing. The hearing is just the first step in this process; it does not mean that Congress is going to pass either the Justice Safety Valve Act or the Smarter Sentencing Act into law. We do not know if or when either bill might be passed. FAMM will email you with updates on both bills’ progress, and you can also check our brand new website,, to track the bills and follow the latest sentencing news.

Here is important information about how to attend the hearing, where to meet, what to bring, and what will happen:

WHAT: Hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee: “Reevaluating the Effectiveness of Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences”

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226, Washington, D.C., 20002. Click here for a map.

WHAT TO BRING: A picture of your incarcerated loved one, if you have one. Pictures should be no larger than 11 by 14 inches in size.


8:30 A.M.:  Arrive at Dirksen Senate Office Building. You will be required to go through a security screening. You should line up outside Dirksen Room 226 by 9:00 a.m. It is a small hearing room with limited seating. If you cannot be seated in Room 226, you will be directed to an overflow room, where you can watch the hearing on a video screen.

10:00 A.M. to approximately 12:00 P.M.:  Hearing

Four witnesses will speak about mandatory minimum sentences and the need to reform them. The U.S. Senators will have a chance to ask the witnesses questions. Throughout the hearing, audience members can hold pictures of their incarcerated loved ones in their laps, facing toward the Senators. At some point during the hearing, the committee will recognize audience members with incarcerated loved ones. You may be asked to stand and hold up your photos.

PLEASE NOTE: Audience members will NOT be allowed to speak, make presentations, or ask questions during the hearing. Audience members should behave respectfully – any shouting, chanting, booing, or other unruly or noisy behavior will lead to the person being removed from the hearing room. There will NOT be a vote on or passage of any legislation at this hearing.

12:00 to 2:00 P.M.:  If you want to, stay after the hearing and gather around a person holding a FAMM sign. There may be some time after the hearing for you to talk with any U.S. Senators who stay to meet people. At 12:30 p.m., we will leave the Dirksen building and have sandwiches at the United Methodist Church Building, 100 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, D.C., 20002.

Thank you for supporting FAMM’s work for mandatory minimum sentencing reform. I look forward to meeting you in Washington!


Molly M. Gill
Government Affairs Counsel, FAMM