At FAMM, we’ve accomplished a lot over 25 years. Since 1991, over 312,000 people have benefited from sentencing reforms championed by FAMM!
Some more of our achievements by the numbers:
FAMM By the Numbers
Over 97,000 federal prisoners received sentences below the mandatory minimum term because they benefited from the “safety valve” exception to federal drug mandatory minimums, passed by Congress in 1994 at FAMM’s urging.
Over 108,000 federal prisoners have received sentences below the term called for by the federal sentencing guidelines, which the U.S. Supreme Court made advisory in United States v. Booker in 2005. FAMM filed a “friend of the court” brief in that case and has fought to keep the guidelines advisory ever since.
Over 46,000 federal prisoners became eligible for reduced sentences after FAMM urged the U.S. Sentencing Commission to make changes to federal drug sentencing guidelines retroactive in 2014.
Over 24,000 federal crack offenders received sentence reductions after FAMM’s advocacy convinced the U.S. Sentencing Commission to make its changes to crack sentencing guidelines retroactive.
Over 13,200 people received fairer sentences for crack cocaine offenses under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, a reform FAMM helped push through Congress.
Over 5,400 additional federal crack offenders with pending appeals became eligible to benefit from the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 because of FAMM’s advocacy for Department of Justice policy changes and our involvement in a U.S. Supreme Court case, Dorsey v. United States.
Over 8,200 people have received fairer sentences since FAMM successfully lobbied the Michigan Legislature to repeal mandatory minimum drug sentences.
Over 5,800 people received sentences below the mandatory minimum term based on FAMM-suggested reforms to New Jersey’s drug school zone law.
Over 2,000 people became eligible for sentence reductions because of changes that capped the maximum sentence people could receive under the sentencing guidelines, a change made retroactive by the U.S. Sentencing Commission at FAMM’s urging in 1994.
Over 900 marijuana growers were eligible for sentence reductions because of changes to marijuana weights in the sentencing guidelines, made retroactive by the U.S. Sentencing Commission at FAMM’s urging in 1995.
Over 1,715 people were released early from federal prisons through commutations granted by various Presidents. FAMM has been a tireless advocate for executive and state clemency and took part in the Clemency Project 2014.
Over 250 people were released early from federal prisons through compassionate release. FAMM has worked with the U.S. Sentencing Commission and Congress to broaden the criteria for who can receive a compassionate release and has educated prisoners about how to seek it.
65 elderly federal prisoners were released early because of the elderly offender release program in the Second Chance Act of 2007, a bill FAMM supported.
550 county drug offenders in Massachusetts received parole eligibility after FAMM advocated for passage of a reform bill in the General Assembly.
And more are coming! FAMM has helped secure sentencing reform victories in Oklahoma, Georgia, Maryland, and Florida in recent years and will continue to monitor the impact of those victories.
Thank you FAMM — I’m going home.
Twice since 2011, FAMM and its members have successfully campaigned for the U.S. Sentencing Commission to reduce guideline sentences for drugs—and to make those guideline changes retroactive. In 2011, the Commission voted to make its FSA-conforming amendment retroactive, a policy change that affected 12,000 federal crack-cocaine prisoners. In 2014, after receiving more than 60,000 letters, the Commission voted to make the “All Drugs Minus Two” guideline change apply retroactively, allowing more than 40,000 prisoners to petition for resentencing. While neither of these changes affected mandatory minimum sentences, they are providing relief to prisoners whose sentences fell below the lowest mandatory minimum, in between various mandatory minimum sentences, and above the mandatory minimum. FAMM has already begun to hear from prisoners whose sentences will be reduced or who are heading home to their families.
FAMM has also heard from federal prisoners who have been granted clemency by the President of the United States. Many of these prisoners have been FAMM members since the early days of their incarceration. Thanks to the efforts of Clemency Project 2014 and other dedicated lawyers, hundreds of prisoners received commutations under President Obama. Clemency Project 2014 ended in December 2016.
These are some of the stories of those released from prison early because of FAMM’s work.
“This sentence reduction means the world to me and my family. It is the happiest I have been in my 6+ years of incarceration…It means that I will now be able to see my 12-year-old graduate high school. I will be able to see the bat mitzvah of my 8-year-old. The date 5/30/2021 was always my moniker in here … now, it is no more. And words alone cannot express the elation I feel. I want to thank your entire staff for being my pipeline of information with all that has happened. I have read all your emails, and you have given me two things that are all I could ask for…one is the truth in all you say, and the second is hope, and I never lost that hope, thanks to the infectious enthusiasm that you have for all of us in here. Your unbiased, non-judgmental views have kept me afloat for a long time, and you will continue to do so until the day I leave. Thank you, FAMM.”
“Dear FAMM, Well I just received a 34-month reduction and I’m ecstatic about it as are my loved ones. It’s just a blessing and us as inmates owe you guys a lot of credit for advocating for those of us that are incarcerated with no voice. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you have done for me and my brother and sisters that are incarcerated you guys fight hard for us and our families because they are doing time with us and it’s a lot of heartache that comes along with being incarcerated. Once again thank you for everything and please keep up the great work!”
“I’m currently finishing college correspondence courses towards an associates with a concentration in math and science. I developed software and websites before my incarceration and plan to work in the information technology job field. [I] … hope to earn a job at a successful start-up as well as work in the open source community developing software for non-profit organizations … Thanks for all you guys do!”
“Thank you for getting my Sentence Reduced! I get out [of prison] now March of 2016.”
“Dear FAMM, I would like to tell you about my reduction of sentence. My name is Josefina and I’m 65-years old. I already served 14 years, so now I happily wait for my date to go back home to my family I love who is my support and my Jewish community…My reduction was almost 4 years (from 235 to 188). Thank God. I credit your organization for how much this helps inmates like me.”
FAMM’s work for smart sentencing policies has been recognized by a diverse group of prestigious organizations, including:
- Certificate of Achievement for Reforming Federal Crack Cocaine Laws from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 2011
- The Citizen Activist Award from the Gleitsman Foundation, 2006
- Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award, 2002
- Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL), 2001
- Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, 1994