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FAMM announces a new campaign in support of a Second Chances Agenda
The criminal justice organization calls for expanded use of compassionate release, clemency, and second look laws
WASHINGTON – Today, FAMM announces a new “Second Chances Agenda“ campaign aimed at urging state and federal policymakers to increase their use of compassionate release and clemency, and to encourage the introduction of more second look legislation.
“One of the things we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is that every state knows to impose lengthy mandatory sentences, but very few have ways to revisit those sentences when the person or circumstances have changed,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “There are people languishing in prison who do not need to be there – and we are no safer for it.
“There are also people who have made remarkable changes in their lives since entering prison, and should be considered for a second chance. If people have served a significant sentence, and they have succeeded in rehabilitating themselves, we should give them an opportunity to go home.”
FAMM’s Second Chances Agenda campaign calls for the following:
- Pass “second look” laws. FAMM is urging the creation of laws in every state that direct courts to reconsider a person’s sentence after 10 or 15 years to determine whether a shorter sentence is appropriate. Learn more about second look laws.
- Expand compassionate releases. Sometimes referred to as medical or geriatric parole or release, compassionate release programs at the state level are failing to allow early release for elderly and sick people who pose no risk to public safety. Learn more about how these systems work around the country and how FAMM is working to improve them.
- Expand clemency. The president and most governors have the authority to shorten excessive prison terms but often fail to use their clemency power to its fullest extent. FAMM is committed to working with governors and the White House to expand the use of executive clemency and to identify people who deserve a second chance.
FAMM also supports other reforms that prosecutors and lawmakers could use to provide second chances.
- Eliminate extreme mandatory sentences and make the reforms retroactive – When lawmakers pass smart reforms, they rarely apply them retroactively, leaving people to serve unjust sentences that are no longer in the law.
- Parole reform – Some states have parole, but rules and red tape make it too difficult for people to get it.
- Sentence integrity units – Prosecutors can promote second chances by reviewing sentences periodically to see if they are appropriate.
FAMM has also launched similar campaigns in Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania today.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies at the state and federal level and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.