Family Perspectives

When someone is sentenced to a mandatory minimum prison term, their entire family is affected.

My Story: Sara S.

Sara’s father is currently serving a life sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. In May 2007, my father was arrested by U.S. marshals. They had been investigating him for over a year. There was a sealed indictment on him, and he was being charged with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. My dad’s… Read more »

My Story: Sherrie D.

Sherrie’s son, Walter, is currently serving a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. He is scheduled to be released in 2020. When all this came about, my son had never been in trouble before, so I thought, this shouldn’t be too bad. I thought my son may get maybe 3-5… Read more »

My Story: Simeon F.

Our 49-year-old son, Paul, has more than 25 years of experience as a successful restaurant owner and manager in the pizza business. Like many other professionals, he also enjoyed marijuana and began growing it to supply his own habits. Eventually, he began selling small amounts to his friends; and, despite being caught once with a… Read more »

Lisa Angelos: 55 Years Behind Bars: Why Mandatory Minimums Need Reform

Lisa Angelos, sister of Weldon Angelos, wrote this piece for The Crime Report. As Congress explores reforming federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws, it is important to consider the experiences of families impacted by these punishments. My family has had its own crash course in these inflexible sentencing rules, as I recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary… Read more »

Cindy Martinson: Judges Need More Discretion on Sentences

Cindy Martinson, mother of Mandy Martinson, wrote the following op-ed in the Des Moines Register. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced an important shift in Justice Department policy: He told federal prosecutors not to pursue mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders. Unfortunately for me and my daughter, Mandy Martinson, Holder’s proposal is both too… Read more »

Lisa Angelos: Mandatory Sentences Can Defy Logic

Lisa Angelos, sister of Weldon Angelos, wrote about her brother’s 55 year sentence in this op-ed in the Deseret News. When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department was going to change how it prosecuted nonviolent individuals who buy or sell illegal drugs, Holder said, “By reserving the most severe penalties for serious, high-level,… Read more »

Andrea Strong: We All Did the Time for My Brother’s Crime

Andrea Strong, FAMM’s member services director, shared her family’s experience when her brother received a life sentence for marijuana in this Take Part op-ed.  Anyone familiar with the U.S. criminal justice system has likely heard the expression, “When a person gets sentenced to prison, the whole family serves the time.” Thanks to our nation’s harsh… Read more »


Some of these stories have been submitted by members of the community and have not been endorsed, vetted or verified by FAMM. You can share your story here.

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