Enhancing Public Safety at Lower Cost: Why Pennsylvania Should…

Tomorrow, the Pennsylvania House may take up legislation to reinstate mandatory minimum sentencing laws. We at FAMM think that’s a bad idea. Today we are releasing a new video to help educate policymakers about why individualized, evidence-based approaches to sentencing are preferable to mandatory sentencing regimes. Share if you agree, especially if you are a #PA resident who knows the dangers of mandatory sentencing.

Posted by FAMM on Monday, March 13, 2017




The PA legislature hopes to reinstate mandatory sentences. Read our testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws have not made Pennsylvanians safer. They have not reduced or deterred crime. Indeed, after performing a comprehensive analysis of state mandatory minimum laws, the independent Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing concluded in 2009, “Neither length of sentence, nor the imposition of the mandatory sentence per se, was a predictor of recidivism.” The Commission also stated that offenders are not deterred by mandatory sentences because they do not know which crimes carry them.

While lengthy mandatory sentences have not enhanced public safety, they have helped to drive Pennsylvania’s prison population from 8,000 in 1980 to more than 50,000 in 2013. The state now spends more than $2 billion annually on corrections.

FAMM seeks to prevent reenactment of costly, counterproductive mandatory minimums. Instead, we support alternatives that are tough on crime without being tough on families and taxpayers.

FAMM’s Legislative Priorities: For information on problems with Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum laws, and FAMM’s proposals to fix them, click here.

June 15, 2015: The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an opinion that found unconstitutional the state’s Drug Free School Zones Act, which set mandatory minimum sentences for selling drugs near schools. The court’s reasoning applies to nearly all of the state’s drug- and gun-related mandatory minimum sentencing laws and therefore invalidates those mandatory sentencing laws, too.

News & Updates

May 31, 2017

Has a bold reform plan helped to shrink Philly’s prison population?

Originally published 4/12/17 at Back in January, Municipal Court Judge Marsha Neifield was undertaking a radical experiment in criminal-justice reform from the otherwise drab confines of an 11th-floor courtroom in the Criminal Justice Center. There were no major criminal cases on her docket — just addicts, small-time drug dealers, and a man accused of… Read more »

March 17, 2017

Mandatory minimums don’t reduce recidivism. So why is Pa. weighing bringing them back?

Originally seen in In 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found the state’s mandatory minimum sentences to be illegal — with a single, 3-2 ruling eradicating a favorite tool of prosecutors and a longtime target of criminal-justice reformers. Now, a Montgomery County legislator is on a mission to resuscitate them. Republican State Rep. Todd Stephens, himself a former… Read more »