Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
FAMM APPLAUDS THE RELEASE OF CALVIN BRYANT
Bryant’s case sparked national discussion on the need to reform Tennessee’s drug-free school zone laws.
WASHINGTON – The national criminal justice reform organization FAMM applauds the resentencing of Calvin Bryant to time served, effective today. Bryant has served 11 years of a 17-year sentence for a first-time, low-level drug offense. Bryant’s case sparked national outrage when he received a sentence enhancement as a result of Tennessee’s drug-free school zone laws. Without that enhancement, he would have been sentenced to less than three years.
Earlier this year, FAMM highlighted Bryant’s case to demonstrate the unfair and overly punitive nature of Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law after learning of it from Bryant’s pro bono attorney, Daniel Horwitz.
FAMM President Kevin Ring released the following statement:
“Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law is one of the worst in the nation, and Calvin’s drug-free school zone sentence is among the worst in the state.
“Tennessee’s broken law mandated a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for Calvin, for which Tennessee has enjoyed no legitimate public safety benefit, while his family and friends suffered for more than a decade. While Calvin was able to receive the relief he so clearly deserved through the courts, FAMM will continue to call on Gov. Bill Haslam to consider clemency for the hundreds of other Tennesseans serving wasteful, unjust sentences under this law.”
FAMM has been active in advocating for both a reform to Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law, which nearly passed the legislature during the 2018 legislative session, and for the governor’s use of clemency to reduce unjust drug-free school zone sentences. In May, FAMM co-signed a letter to Gov. Haslam urging him to use his executive clemency powers to grant relief to drug-free school zone offenders, including Calvin Bryant, Sara Moore, and Terrance Davis.
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 in six states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94 percent 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.
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