Family Perspectives

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

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 »

My Story: Veda A.

In 1993, at the age of 20, my brother Robert Shipp was indicted and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base and cocaine.  In 1994, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  He was involved in the drug conspiracy for only 5 months.  This… Read more »

My Story: Jessica L.

I became aware of FAMM in 2008 when my own loved one was sentenced to serve twenty years in federal prison. The past five years of his incarceration have been unbearable and have taken a toll on all of us, especially his now 10 year old son. The separation of family for such a long time… 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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