Year-end Review: Sentencing Reform in Congress in 2016 and Beyond

Post Date: December 23, 2016

The 114th Congress has ended, and members of both houses of Congress have gone home for the holidays. This means there will be no bills passed or votes taken in Congress until they come back to work on January 3, 2017. That will be the start of the 115th Congress.

Sadly, no sentencing or prison reform bills were passed into law by Congress this year. This means that all these bills are dead, and we have to start over again from scratch next year. We were disappointed that reforms did not pass, and we’re grateful for every member of Congress who fought so hard for these reforms. 

What we were NOT disappointed in was the tremendous progress sentencing reform made. This Congress, we saw more sentencing and prison reform bills introduced than ever before. We saw more members of Congress from both parties support these bills, too. Here are just a few examples:

  • The SAFE Justice Act (H.R. 2944) would have limited mandatory minimum drug sentences to leaders of large drug conspiracies and given prisoners time credits for doing programs. More than 60 members of the U.S. House supported it.
  • The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) and the Sentencing Reform Act (H.R. 3713) would have reduced some drug and gun mandatory minimums, broadened the “safety valve” exception to drug minimums, and made the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive. These bills had the support of 37 U.S. Senators and 80 members of the House.
  • The Smarter Sentencing Act would have cut mandatory minimum drug sentences in half, broadened the safety valve, and made the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive. It had the support of 26 Senators and 63 House members.

More than that, we also saw unprecedented support for sentencing reform from all parts of the political spectrum and from police, prosecutors, faith groups, and key congressional leaders like Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI). And, of course, thousands of you wrote to and met with your members of Congress and told them to support reform, and that made a huge difference, too! Thank you for all of your advocacy this year!

Looking Ahead to the 115th Congress

On January 3, 2017, the 115th Congress will start working and will run until December 2018. Both Houses of Congress will be controlled by Republicans. We will be starting over fresh – bills will have to be reintroduced and go through all the normal steps before they can become law: they must be approved by the Judiciary Committee, passed by the full U.S. House and U.S. Senate, and signed by the president.

Many members of both parties in Congress still want to pass sentencing and prison reform bills, and we commend them for it. We’re going to keep working with them, help them introduce bills, and try to pass one. Also, next year we will be educating Congress about how it can make federal prisons better with more programs, jobs, drug treatment, and education — and give prisoners meaningful incentives to complete those programs so that they don’t reoffend. Finally, Congress may try to pass some bills that create new mandatory minimum sentences next year. We’re going to work hard to make sure those bills don’t pass and taxpayers don’t waste money on policies that won’t make them safer.

Republican Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president on January 20, 2017. President-elect Trump has chosen Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be his attorney general. Senator Sessions has a mixed record on sentencing reform. He supported the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the weight disparity between crack and powder cocaine mandatory minimum sentences. Unfortunately, he opposed making those reforms retroactive and has since opposed other efforts to reform sentences. FAMM does not take positions on presidential nominees, and we don’t know yet what Senator Sessions might do as attorney general. But we have already offered FAMM’s help to President-elect Trump’s team to help them understand why we need sentencing and prison reforms. We look forward to working with the new president and attorney general and the 115th Congress to see if we can find common ground and advance reforms. 

Thank you for supporting FAMM’s work and helping us advocate for common sense sentencing reforms. We’ll need your help again with the 115th Congress. Keep checking our website for updates as new bills are introduced next year, and happy holidays!

88 Responses to “Year-end Review: Sentencing Reform in Congress in 2016 and Beyond”

  1. The concern!!!

    It’s a shame president Obama administration couldn’t do what they promise americans concerning federal prison reform. It was all talk no action, as usual… politics!!!

    Reply
    • Christine Hemberger

      My son’s father is incarceated in FBOP in Pennsylvania he is in the hole. He has been violent in prison but not out on the street when he received his drug charge in 2008 it was not violent. Will that keep him from getting the 2255 clemency program?

      Reply
        • Nancy Smith

          Is there anything on a State charge there is no parole in state of Va my boyfriend served 10 years won’t be released till 2028 something should be done a lot of prisoners I feel have done more than fair share of time and others hardly nothing for the same crime I feel a second change to life should be approved we all makes horrible mistakes u prison is here but learning from the mistakes and teaching others maybe be a help to today’s world

          Reply
          • Jeri

            I agree with you Nancy. Something has to be done. Someone I love met all of the criteria for clemency 2014. All of it. But he was still denied. He has repayed his debt to society (over 11 years of a 33 year sentence) but I watch rapists, child molesters, and murders walk free. There are men in prison who have managed to meet the expectations of the political masses without having necessary tools for rehabilitation, yet its not enough to give them a second chance. I’m feeling a little distraught and dissapointed because there are so many deserving men and women who should be considered for a new start. America was a second chance to be greater than its predecessor, so shouldn’t our citizens be granted the same opportunity that we were built upon? I’m just heartbroken.

    • Olivia County

      Obama is always blamed for something because it’s racially motived! Stop with the Obama shit!

      Reply
  2. Sally McConkey

    I would like to know if there are reform bills in progress for sex offenders that have not been convicted of any form of pedophilia, but instead, internet offenses such as child porn on websites, something that has exploded on the internet. All I see are reforms for drug offenses, but there are other mandatory minimums that are completely unjust. Any info would be helpful.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      That would depend on cases (federal vs. state). There are some bills that have been proposed at the state level, none yet at the federal level. If you would like to know more about initiatives at the state level, let us know and we’ll send you information.

      Reply
  3. YEMI ADEYALE

    IS THERE ANY CHANGE IN SENTENCING GUIDELINE FOR FRAUD? I HAD SOMETHING ABOUT THE LOST AMOUNT OR INTENTED LAW AMOUNT BEEN CHANGED TO REDUCE THE TIME.

    Reply
  4. Karen Brown

    My son was sentenced to 8 years in fci ft. worth for watching child porn on his computer. While this is a despicable subject he harmed no one and was in the USAF for almost 6 years. How can a person be imprisoned for watching videos? I don’t understand, and am completely devastated. There are many others in with him for the same offence. What can I do to help them?

    Reply
    • FAMM

      Please call us at 202-822-6700. We have people on staff who are great resources to families of incarcerated individuals with all kinds of charges and we’d love to help guide you through the process of advocating for your son.

      Reply
    • Mindy Thorn

      My son is 6 months into his five year sentence on child pronography distribution charges. I understand your frustration and heartbreak. I worry every day about his mental state. How did the sentences for sharing child pornography become worst than those that actually offend?

      Reply
  5. Denetria Jackson

    Is this a program or organization that helps individuals directly with sentence reductions on non violent crimes?

    Reply
    • FAMM

      We do not, and legally cannot, give legal aid to individuals regarding their cases. We listen to cases, write profiles, and can often help individuals make connections that help their situations. Feel free to give us a call if you have further questions: 202-822-6700

      Reply
  6. Bette Davis

    Please President Obama grant clemency’s for nonviolent offenders serving decades in prison that are no threat to society and their families want them home

    Reply
    • Fjdjfjd

      It’s people like you who give many aspects of “criminality” a bad name. Wtf is non violent?? My brother is doing 26 years for a victimless computer crime deemed “crime of violence” by the southern f**ks at the eleventh circuit. Research your surroundings before you people run your mouths.When you say sh*t like that that’s easily perceived by the average idiot layman that the violent offenders are a threat to society.

      Reply
    • Jeanette Martinez

      Outcry in the Barrio is a rehab home and is free of charge.
      Vince, come to #SanAntonio & visit me, @outcry_updates @romanherrera10 | We have 80% success over opiates. Ask @SpeakerRyan @BobWoodson

      Reply
  7. Evelyn Diaz

    FAMM is the voice of thousands inmates and their families across the country. Thank you for all your work this year. There is much work to do to make our judicial and prisons systems fairer, safer and that really rehabilitate inmates. Inmates with childs’ support needs to earn a fairer income so they can send money to their children. Years of unpaid child’s support represent a huge debt that inmates have to pay once they are free. That debts can push excons to relapse to pay those debts and children without child’s support are more vulnerable to commit crimes to survive. Factories are making millions with the ridiculous cheap labour they have in prisons. They should pay a fairer rate to inmates. We urgently need a project on this issue. Thank you.

    Reply
  8. Rose French

    Thank you FAMM for continuing to fight to put justice in the justice system. With 535 members of Congress, I hope that they will remember the voters who put them where they are and will take the time to listen to what the States are saying. Remove marijuana from schedule 1, remove it from Federal prosecution, make the law removing mandatory minimums retroactive, trust the judges to do their work and you do yours Congress..what did you do this year?

    Reply
  9. Christina

    I don’t understand why yall send people with little sentence time so far and waste money sending them back im trying to keep my husband here in odessa he only has 4 months left

    Reply
  10. Christina

    Would like to know if that law passed of the 65 percent for the federal prisoners or is it still at 85 percent

    Reply
    • FAMM

      I’m unsure of your question. Are you asking about the 85% law, or if sentencing will affect 85% of offenders?

      Reply
      • Monique

        Yes, I would like to have more information if it is still the law, and more information about the 65,70 or still 85%…

        Reply
        • FAMM

          Good time credit is 85%, not 65% or 70%. This means that an offender has to serve 85% of their time before good time, good behavior, or other effects are applied.

          I hope that answered your question. Feel free to email back with any more questions.

          Reply
          • Jill

            I too am wondering if there is any news about the 85% law possibly going to 65%. My husband is currently incarcerated and said he has heard talk of maybe instead of serving 85% of your sentence, it might change to 65% of your sentence

          • FAMM

            The Good time for federal inmates is 85%. They must do 85% of their sentence. There have been rumors that good time has changed to 65% but that is a myth. It takes a bill to be written and passed by congress and signed into law by the President to change good time. A few states have a different percentage in state prisons thought. Let us know if your husband is in a state prison and we can check that out for you. I hope that answered your question.

          • Jill

            My husband is in federal prison. His sentence is 120 months, so his good time is 8.5 years. He has been recommended for the RDAP program (I think that’s what it is called) which is drug treatment and will take 1 year off of his time. Is there anything else that can be done to reduce his time?

          • FAMM

            We would need to know more about the particulars of his case to determine other helpful reductions, though for now it sounds like he is off to a great start in acquiring them. Pleae feel free to call us! 202-822-6700

  11. Lonnie

    I am a little confused. So are the proposed amendments made by the USSC on December 9th dead as well or will it be proposed under the 15th Congress?

    Reply
    • FAMM

      While dead as of the end of Dec, many of the dead bills are being reintroduced, or already have been, in this new congress.

      Hope that answered your question!

      Reply
  12. Stacey

    My husband will be sentenced in the next few months for a drug crime. He is a non-violent offender with his only prior history being a drug charge. He is not a criminal he is a man with an addiction. Yet he is about to loose 10+ years of life. How could anyone in congress see this as being an adequate punishment. I still can not wrap my head around the fact this is happening. I know this can not be changed in a day, but I need to know who to write to or who to meet with here in Charleston? This is a Federal charge pending in Middle District Georgia, but he is (or was) a resident of WV. Can you help with names or addresses?

    Reply
  13. Mark Leonard Hoke

    I would like to see changes in sex offender sentencing. In my state the counties can decide what tp plead crimes to wich means if you live in Maricopa County a young man or woman under the age of 25 who commits the crime of sexual misconduct with a minor (3 counts) can plea their case down to attempt get sentenced to 5 years probation wich includes registering as a SO. Be required to go to a court ordered sex offender program and complete that program and upon successful completion of all of these be allowed to exit the sex offender registration program. While in another county a different young person who commits the same crime with simular circumstances cant get the same plea and may be forced to do as much as 65 years without parol. Is this the kind of sentencing guiglines you are trying to change? why should such a disparity exist in simular cases when the last time I looked when your charged with a felony it says The STATE of Arizona v. Whomever. In todays highly charged sexual society, teenagers, young adults and even grade school children, both boys and girls are exposed to sex and pornography at younger age than ever before. Causing sexuality at a younger age than ever so the age at wich a sex offense becomes a DCAC or Child molestation should.be lowered as well to anyone the age of thirteen or younge. There are some teenagers both boy’s and girls who for whatever reason have become sexually active. This will allow a fair evaluation of the totality of the circumstances under wich the crime was committed. The same charging and sentencing guilines should be uniform for the whole state dont you think? And im talking about cases in which the young girl or boy who the misconduct was involving was the initiator, the sexually agressive party and a willing uncoerced participant who has already been sexually active. Not an innocent who was taken avatage of or preyed upon lidnapped raped or anything that was violent or forcible. These are the real tough laws that need reforming. Im willing to donate my time and talent to help make it happen. Just.point me in the right direction.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      If you would like further encouragement on the issues of sex crimes and sentencing, please feel free to call us at 202-822-6700. We’d love to give you some counsel as you work to understand this issue.

      Reply
      • Sherry

        What’s there to understand? That is exactly how the laws work! I have a family member who had an addiction to adult pornography and by accident, when he downloaded what he thought was adult porn, it was mixed with pictures of teenagers too. He immediately deleted them, but any one knows when you delete something off your computer, it is still on your hard drive. Well, I am sure you can see where I am going. Mandatory 5 year minimum for 15 pics. So, prosecutors threatened to give him 60 years if he did not plead guilty and take their plea of 9 years. He did not want to plead guilty. But, his lawyer told him if he did not, the since this is a sensitive subject, they would “put him under the jail”. He never been in trouble, not even a speeding ticket. This is why the prisons are filled with many people who are innocent, because of the way the justice system allows Commomwealth Attorneys and prosecutors to convict. They have free reign. All the while, the real monster who raped that girl while she was unconscious got 6 mo and was out in three. The Sentencing Guidlines are set up that a rapist will get less time than a person who looks at a picture. I am not condoning this behavior either, but maybe FAMM can spend some time and resources on this subject instead of drugs all the time.

        Reply
        • FAMM

          Thank you for contributing! FAMM takes a hard stand against ALL mandatory minimums. Since Congress is most likely to pass drug-related sentencing changes, and people sentenced to drug-related crimes often get 50 years to life, we have been speaking on that of late. In states we see victories in many different man min sentencing changes. As you well know, sex crimes are complicated and controversial, but every day we counsel families on how to support loved ones sentenced for them. I promise we spend incredible amounts of both time and resources working to eliminate all man mins.

          Reply
          • Sherry

            Thank you for your response, but I have not seen anything posted on your website in over a year and a half that any work has been done to support reducing or eliminating mandatory minimums for possession of child pornography. So what if it is controversial, there are many people in jail just like my family member who unintentionally saw pictures of underage girls. Because he was not known in his community nor had a lot of money, as far as the Court and his lousy Court appointed lawyer thought, he was guilty and his lawyer would did nothing not to help him. I would like to also like to add if you take a hard look at the statistics you KNOW there are thousands of innocent men and women incarcerated nationwide. Do you think the Government or the states care?? Only 7% of criminal cases go to trial the other 93% are resolved through plea bargains. Do you REALLY believe cops and prosecutors get it right 93% of the time? Could that even be possible knowing, as we do now, how routinely police reports don’t match the video from their own dash-cams, or audits of crime labs find serious, systemic errors affecting thousands of cases? So why do so many innocent people plead guilty? Because our draconian sentencing laws give prosecutors, not judges nearly all the power in the system. If yyou go to trial, they will heap on extra counts and charges to punish you for daring to question them, and if you are found guilty (a common occurrence even for the innocent because too many jurors believe “you must have done something” or you wouldn’t be on trial). This is especially true in cases involving children. Does not matter if you are innocent. Your guilty no matter what evidence you may present. You can expect to pay a “trial tax” where the judge hits you with extra time because you “wasted the court’s time” by going to trial. So if an Innocent man is being offered ten years, but know’s he’ll do life if convicted, which choice do you think is all to often made? Then once you take their plea deal, you are no longer eligible for parole, ever. I really do not know how these people can live with themselves. The Justice system is totally broken and rigged

          • FAMM

            We know sex crimes are controversial, and while they don’t prevent our working on them though advocacy and individual support, it does often hinder the bills that come up around them. We’ll keep pushing for them and hopefully soon people will be able to look at sex crimes in a rational and constructive way the way people have begun to look at drug-related crimes. Thanks for writing to us, keep holding us accountable and pushing us on your issues, we never want to be complacent about the work to abolish ALL man mins.

  14. Carolina

    Regarding mandatory minimums: there needs to be a distinction between child pornography possession and producing/selling child pornography. Even actual sex offenders who molest children have the same sentencing guidelines. There is a distinct difference. Even with a medical diagnosis & psychological testing ruling out recidivism the sentencing doesn’t change. The therapy needed is not provided in prison. Why not home confinement/monitoring ? Many who view the pornography, unbeknowning to us were victims themselves. If licensed professionals were able to provide input into the sentencing laws there would be a change. But now the same “label” is placed on all of them regardless of their offense. A judge should be able to grant sentences on a case by case matter, not by a sheet of paper.
    Thank you for letting me vent. Would welcome some advice and encouragement regarding this issue.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      If you would like further encouragement, as you asked for, on the issues of child pornography and sentencing, please feel free to call us at 202-822-6700. We’d love to give you some counsel as you work to understand this issue.

      Reply
  15. Carla McAtee Collins

    I’d like to ask Donald Trump what he considers to be the worst crime out of all crimes. I think if you ask the American People they would say murder. However I know that the majority of all people in prison, including those serving life are in for drug crimes that had no murder or guns involved. It is not worth the billions of tax dollars to incarcerate these people for the rest of their lives. If they are in for 3 strikes they should be resentenced. If they have any crime of violence that happened 10 years prior to incarceration for the current crime for which they currently sentenced, such as a misdemeanor/no injury or something they did when they were 18 and now they are 50 which is over 25 years ago. They are not the same person they were back then and it shouldn’t be counted against them. Not saying they don’t need prison time but not the rest of their lives. Also if when the laws are changed they need to be retroactive because the prisoners that are serving now are part of the statistic information that was obtained and pulled from in order change the laws and they should at least benefit.

    Reply
  16. Renee

    MY HUSBAND IS NOT A VIOLENT PERSON BUT HE HAS BEEN GIVEN 14 YRS MANDATORY FOR DRUG CHARGES,, DO HE HAVE A CHANCE OF THE 25 PERCENT LAW HE HAS FELL UNDER? OR WILL HE HAVE TO DO THE 14 YEARS?

    Reply
  17. J.marli

    My fiance has been in prison since he was 17 in 2004. He was given a mandatory sentence of 20 years. Is there any hope of a reform that prohibits mandatory sentencing for people who were juveniles at the time of the crime? Meanwhile all 4 of the other offenders of the same case received either 5 or 10 years, not mandatory. Two of which were also juveniles.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      Our Director of Legislative Affairs stated that this depends on the jurisdiction you’re in; however, we have not seen a bill like this at the federal level, only locally such as here in DC. We’d recommend writing your story and sharing with your local lawmakers via a letter and phone calls. Being tough on crime doesn’t work if people like your fiancé have their lives are ruined when he may have deserved less time. Call us to discuss further! 202-822-6700

      Reply
  18. Crystal Drysdale

    Can someone from FAMM or anyone else please help me find out the mandatory minimum in the state of Florida for someone convicted and serving time for drug conspiracy?
    Thanks kindly

    Reply
  19. Brittany Elliott

    My son’s father received an ARMED ROBBERY charge in GA on 08/17/2008. The G.O.C website states his MAX POSSIBLE RELEASE DATE: 08/18/2018. He had no priors and since he has been in there he has received his GED, a couple certifications, has worked for the prisons and stayed out of trouble. Last year my family had a death in our immediate and it has in packed my 12 years sons life. He really needs his dad back in his day to day life. Is there anything I can do to help get him release?

    Reply
  20. Dani

    I’m just curious why there is no speak of reforming mandatory minimum sentences on charges that do not involve drugs. i agree wholeheartedly that reform needs to take place across the board.. Peoples’ lives are thrown into turmoil for much less than drug charges because of mandatory minimums.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      States do a brunt of the work on non-drug related man min reform. FAMM works on non-drug related cases too, and we are against all man mins, drug and non-drug related cases alike.

      Reply
  21. Nicole

    Do we know if Beckles vs the United States is going to be decided anytime soon. I heard January. It was agured in November. How could I find out?please and thank you.

    Reply
  22. Michael

    Please AMSWER…..

    If one is sentenced in Tampa FL to 15 months Federal Prison time “white collar crime-non violent” and is to self surrender Jan 27th 2017 at the Estill South Carolina PRISON CAMP.
    1.) How much actual prison camp time would this person serve?
    2.) would this person go to a Halfway house on a 15 month sentence and if so when??.
    3.) When would this person go back home to there family for Home confinement on the 15 months?

    In closing, basically please explain/breakdown the time frame.
    85% or 65% served
    When is the person eligible for HWH “if any” or does the person do % actual time in camp then home confinement for remainder or ?

    Thank you all at FAMM for what you do.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      There are a lot of factors that go into answer your questions, since these depend on sentencing, the amount of halfway houses in Florida, etc. Please call Andrea Strong, our Member Services Director (who has been with us for 25 years) and she will walk you through trying to pinpoint how much time someone would have to serve. 202-822-6700 ext. 200

      Reply
  23. Lily Rodriguez

    Can someone from FAMM or anyone else please help me find out the mandatory minimum in the state of New Jersey for someone convicted and serving time for drug conspiracy?
    Thanks kindly

    Reply
  24. Keshia Smiley

    Will State of Florida follow along with what the president did and release Non Violent drug offenders serving harsh Mandatory Min sentences?? Shouldn’t this apply to state prisons as well? Will the reform apply to state prison inmates like my husband?

    Reply
    • FAMM

      The president’s clemency power only extends to federal prisons; governors must commute state sentences.

      Reply
  25. Sandra

    My daughter is a first time non violent offender sentenced under the old mandatory minimum sentencing oxy law 2 years after the new law was passed, She was arrested 3 months before the new law became active in June although it was passed by legislation in March .. she was arrested in April, Under the new law she would have gotten a possession charge vs a felony trafficking charge, and when sentenced the new law was already in affect for 2 years, but yet they followed the old sentencing guide line… why ? She is 7mnths pregnant and the prison will not allow anyone in her family know when she will be getting a c-suction due to it’s a high risk pregnancy. She has a release date 2 wks before her due and then she starts her unjustified house arrest sentencing. She already finished a program that she received certificate for, and is currently in the GED program, and has never gotten in trouble inside. Can she get additional good time added for the programs she completes, and considering her situation. She is not getting the nutrition she needs for the baby. They only give her a extra milk, the food is not only very small portioned cold and pretty disgusting. According to inmates the only time a lunch looks decent is during government inspection days due its a privately owned jail. Is there any way, and who should I contact to beg for at least a 2 wk earlier release date from jail to start her house arrest so she can be with her baby, and atleast breast feed the baby who hasn’t been getting enough nutrition… shouldnt our elected judges be allowed to do their jobs, vs the DA trying to make deals … please advise

    Reply
    • FAMM

      Greetings Sandra,

      I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s situation. Please call us at 202-822-6700 so we can learn more about the situation and give you some ideas for next steps towards finding better conditions and understanding good time credit for her.

      Reply
  26. Holly

    How come you get more time for a computer crime than you do if you physically molest or touch someone. I really don’t get it. I think that needs to be reformed. I think 20 years for a computer crime is a bit ridiculous. I could see if he touched somebody.

    Reply
    • Holly

      How come you get more time for a computer crime than you do if you physically molest or touch someone. I really don’t get it. I think that needs to be reformed. I think 20 years for a computer crime is a bit ridiculous. I could see if he touched somebody. And he’s never been in trouble before.

      Reply
  27. Tonya

    Can u please tell me if drug trafficking passed in the state of south Carolina I keep hearing it has but can’t found anything on it so if anyone knows anything please let me know

    Reply
  28. Pamela Wymbs

    Need help my son is at atlant usp he has lost his aunt in 2014 and his dad dec 20 on his bday in 2016 .can you tell me is there any way my son can come home earlier he got a 10 yr sentence for low level drug charge with conspiracy charge and they claim he was a career offender, but if he was not a career-offender
    He would have gotten a saftey valve, well i think its a bit harsh he has a spinal cord injury and he suffers from back pains and neck and incontinent issues and he has to drink milk of magnesium every three days in order to have a bowel movement, his nerves are damaged and he has more circulation in lower legs and he walks on a kane, tell me is it something we can do and he had a slip and fail due to prison negligence which causr more issues, please help pamela

    Reply
    • FAMM

      Hi Pamela, please call our office when you have time, to explain the situation in more detail to a staff member so they can help you learn ways to help your son. In the meantime, your son’s lawyer should also be a resource to you in answering these questions and ensuring your son’s health standards are being met. Calling your state representative with your sons situation on a regular basis will also yield you results, as it is their job to care about what makes you worry.

      Reply
  29. candy

    I have 2 love ones incarcerated both got 12 years no previous charges both first time offenders.. They both are in Missouri Doc.. I just wanted to know if any laws have passed in Missouri to shorten their time

    Reply
  30. Shell

    PLEASE HELP!!
    Hello there I am writing in hopes that you can help me answer some questions I have. My boyfriend is currently serving a 10-year minimum and 15 year Max sentence. 6 yrs 5 months to 8 yrs 9 months of those years came from a habitual sentence. However, the other 4 to 6 years came from trafficking charges. When he went to court he had a court appointed lawyer and as you must know that was pretty much the end of it. However, the lawyer had in his possession the prescription from the doctor Who had written the prescription for my boyfriend’s girlfriend at that time. His previous girlfriend also frequently Road in the same vehicle and apparently at times would leave her pills in the car. My boyfriend had pulled into a gas station to get a sandwich and a drink while taking a break from laying floors. As he sat there in his truck with a trailer on the back full of floor working materials, he heard a tap on his driver’s side window. He looked over from eating his sandwich and he saw that it was local law enforcement they told him to get out of the car and explain to them why he was just sitting there. He explained to them the same as what I wrote above. As he is talking to cop number one, cop number 2 decides that he can just go inside of my boyfriend’s vehicle and start digging around. After a few minutes cop number 2 comes around to where my boyfriend and the other cop were talking. Cop number 2 started shaking a bottle of pills up and down and making comments such as “well look what I got here” and “I bet you didn’t think I would find this”. My boyfriend immediately begin to tell both officers that the pills in the labeled bottle were his girlfriend’s pills that were prescribed to her by her primary care physician. At that moment it didn’t appear that either of the officers cared to hear anything else my boyfriend had to say and was immediately arrested. Fast forward to the court-appointed attorney and the day of the trial. The court appointed attorney never once presented any evidence that would lead the bottle of pills found in my boyfriend’s truck back to his girlfriend who had a legal prescription for those pills. The court appointed attorney also convinced my boyfriend that he was going to get him a really “good” deal however that really good deal turned into two separate charges that would ultimately have two separate sentences and would be served one after the other, consecutive. So where we are now is that he is currently serving the habitual felony sentences and when his time is up on that sentence 10/06/2019 he will begin to serve the first of the two 2 year 1 month sentences. I feel like that these charges most certainly could have been run together but more than anything I feel like that my boyfriend was greatly under-represented in the court of law. Since his first day of confinement he has written multiple letters trying to get help with his case before sentencing and after sentencing and has still heard nothing from anyone. Is there anything we can do? So way to have his last two charges run concurrent? Anything? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you for your time. Shell W.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      Hi Shell, that sounds like a truly horrible situation. Please call (202-822-6700) so we can hear more of where your boyfriend’s defense began and ended, and how you can help him in his case. While we cannot offer legal aid, we have experienced staff members who can help the best they can.

      Reply
  31. Shyanne Santiago

    I want to find out because of my chrges and bad choices in life about little under 2 years ago in 2015 its the 1st of feburary 2017 and im facing a drug trafficking first time drug offender and possibly could be going away for about 14yrs..my prior was a non violent crime and first drug charge for both state which i have no drug charges and the feds side this 1 trafficking possibly doing 14yrs…..just want to understand more on these reform bills.changing these mandatory minimums and is it or how is it possible for my judge without going against the law to impose a lower sentencing due or because of something anything that this may affect due to me going away that long??? I just want guideness or direction as to my other possible offers available….i also being released on supervision and an anklel bracelet tested positve in a random drug ua not due to the addicition but the depression of my possible outcome of hard sentencing….its just real hard to fathom the fact of seperating me from my 4 young children that solely depend on me being that the daddy is a full time truck driver to support financially our family leaving me the primary cateregiver for my kids i need advice direction or some kind of resource for help going through this stiuation….

    Reply
    • FAMM

      What a terrible situation! Please call us so we can talk through your charges with you and figure out what direction you should take with your lawyer or legal aid: 202-822-6700

      Reply
    • FAMM

      Right now there is no talk of it but many organizations, like ourselves, have it as a policy we’ll push when a reform bill comes to congress.

      Reply
  32. Donna

    My 51 yr old husband of 30yrs, is getting ready to serve a mandatory 5yr sentence, for a first time offense for selling some of his pain pills to a supposed friend. He has never been in trouble until this and hasn’t since then. Works everyday, and is non violent, father and grandfather. How does someone like this get 5yrs mandatory, come on this is ridiculous and the laws do need to change.

    Reply
  33. Tracy Kelley

    I would like to find out if there are any reform bills in progress for federal prisoners with minimum/mandatory sentences in Florida. I’m trying to become active in justice reform and learn, research anything that will help my husband out while he’s incarcerated. also I will be reaching out to my Congress person who is very active .
    .
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • FAMM

      The latest out of Florida is a bill to reform sentencing laws (http://famm.org/hails-drug-sentencing-reform-bill/), nothing yet about prison reform or retroactivity. Reaching out to all of your lawmakers helps in this fight. If there are laws that you want to see, tell them. They work for us, the public, and need to consistently hear your concerns.

      Reply

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