Contact: Rabiah Burks
FAMM, Advocates, and Lawmakers Oppose New Crime Bills at Maryland State Capitol
Today at 11:30 a.m. at the Maryland State Capitol in Annapolis, Maryland, FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) and a dozen other criminal justice reform, civil rights, and law enforcement groups gathered at a press conference to oppose Governor Larry Hogan’s (R-MD) legislative proposals to create more mandatory minimum sentences. FAMM also submitted written and oral testimony opposing the bills (S. 197/HB 101, S. 198/HB 102, and S. 199/HB 100) at a hearing today before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee at 1:00 p.m.
“Baltimore’s crime problem is real. Unfortunately, the governor’s legislative response is not,” FAMM President Kevin Ring said. “His crime bills are a throwback to the 1980s when lawmakers’ knee-jerk reaction to every crisis was to pass longer and longer sentences.
“We know too much to fall for that same trick today. Lengthy one-size-fits-all mandatory sentences haven’t solved drug crime or drug abuse, and they won’t solve gun or violent crime, either. Worse yet, pursuing this failed approach will divert resources from programs that actually reduce violence,” Ring said.
Other organizations present at the press conference included the ACLU of Maryland, Job Opportunities Task Force, Color of Change, Justice Policy Institute, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and Communities United for Baltimore, among many others. Baltimore Del. Mary Washington was also in attendance. Others present included members of the clergy, crime victims, and participants in youth crime prevention programs in Baltimore.
The governor’s proposed crime package would, if passed, create new five- and 10-year mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun possession, gun use, and violent crimes. FAMM’s testimony emphasized that there is no evidence that mandatory minimum sentences deter or reduce gun violence or violent crime. Other cities that have reduced gun and violent crime in recent years have instead relied on community-based policing and prosecution, victim trauma services, and other violence- and crime-prevention programs focused on youth and gangs. FAMM also expressed concerns that the bills would be so costly they would negate all savings anticipated from the 2016 Justice Reinvestment Act, which repealed most of Maryland’s mandatory minimum drug sentences.
There will be a hearing on Governor Hogan’s crime bills before the House Judiciary Committee on February 6, 2018.
FAMM is a nonpartisan, national advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice reforms to make our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM promotes change by raising the voices of families and individuals who are directly affected by counterproductive sentencing and prison policies.
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