U.S. Congress

FAMM is promoting federal mandatory minimum sentencing reforms and other criminal justice reforms in the 115th Congress, which begins on January 3, 2017, and runs until December 31, 2018. As reform bills are introduced in Congress, FAMM’s summaries and positions on them will be posted below. Contact Molly Gill, our director of federal legislative affairs, at 202-822-6700 for assistance with legislation.

We stand ready to help members of Congress on the following kinds of sentencing and prison reforms:

  1. Safety Valves — creating exceptions to federal mandatory minimum sentences to prevent absurd and wasteful results
  2. Repeal — removing mandatory minimum sentences from the federal code
  3. Gun Mandatory Minimum Sentences  fixing flaws in 18 U.S.C. section 924’s mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession offenses
  4. Early Release Programs for Elderly Prisoners — elderly prisoners cost more and reoffend less than younger ones, and their numbers are growing fast because of long, mandatory minimum sentences
    1. H.R. 64, Federal Prison Bureau Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2017 (115th Congress)
  5. Crack Cocaine Mandatory Minimum Sentences — making the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010’s reforms to crack cocaine mandatory minimum punishments retroactive, or eliminating the existing disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences
  6. “Good Time Credit” for Federal Prisoners — expanding sentence-reducing incentives for prisoners’ good behavior 
    1. H.R. 64, Federal Prison Bureau Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2017 (115th Congress)
  7. Opposing New Mandatory Minimum Sentences — ensuring that all offenders get sentences that fit
    1. H.R. 361 / S. 45, Kate’s Law (115th Congress)
  8. Prison reforms — Starting in 2017, FAMM will work to ensure that prisons provide prisoners with shorter sentences for completing rehabilitation programs that are evidence-based and reduce reoffending. FAMM will also advocate for reforms that ease the burden of incarceration on families. More details coming soon!

Resources for Congressional staff:  FAMM’s Mandatory Minimum Briefing Book

How our Federal Campaign Works:

To change federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the U.S. Congress must pass new legislation. To help sentencing reform bills become law, FAMM meets regularly with Members of Congress and their staffs and provides them with data, resources, analysis and advice, stories of impacted people, and assistance with drafting reforms. When asked, FAMM and its supporters testify before Congress and its committees. Get involved to support our reform efforts today! 

How Bills Become Law:

To become a law, a sentencing reform bill must first be introduced by a Member of Congress, then reviewed by the Judiciary Committee, passed by both Houses of Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate), and signed by the President. This can be a lengthy and difficult process. Sometimes, reform bills do not become law for several years. Each session of Congress lasts two years. Any bill that does not become a law in that two-year period “dies” at the end of that time – which means the process to make that bill a law has to start all over again from scratch in the next Congress. Our current Congress is in session until December 31, 2016. Learn more about how a bill becomes a law.


Molly Gill
Director of Federal Legislative Affairs
1100 H Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 822-6700
Email: mgill@famm.org