FAMM celebrates passage of sentencing reform retroactivity in Florida - FAMM


FAMM celebrates passage of sentencing reform retroactivity in Florida

Categories: Blog, Featured, Newsroom, Press Release


Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700

The removal of archaic clause in Constitution allows for retroactive changes to criminal statutes.

WASHINGTON – The national criminal justice reform organization FAMM celebrated the passage of Amendment 11, which allows for retroactive changes to Florida’s sentencing laws. The amendment removed language dating from 1885 that prohibited the legislature from making sentencing reforms retroactive. Amendment 11 potentially affects thousands of prisoners. FAMM worked with Sen. Darryl Rouson (D, St. Petersburg) and the Constitution Revision Commission to place Amendment 11 on the ballot. More than 4.6 million Floridians – around 62 percent of voters – approved Amendment 11.

PFAMM Florida Director Greg Newburn released the following statement:

“Voters passed the most important criminal justice reform legislation in Florida’s history yesterday – Amendment 11. Florida was alone in denying the legislature the right to apply sentence reductions retroactively. We’re thrilled voters agreed that Florida needs this important sentencing reform.

“There are two recent changes to sentencing laws that could be affected by yesterday’s vote. In 2014, the legislature approved changes to drug sentencing laws, and in 2016, the legislature repealed the mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated assault. We know of prisoners who were left behind when those laws passed, including Cynthia Powell and Erik Weyant, because Florida’s constitution did not allow those changes to be made retroactive.

“It is flatly unjust that Weyant and Powell are stuck serving long mandatory minimum sentences that no one believes are appropriate. Florida voters sent a clear message that they want to fix these injustices. FAMM is hopeful that we can now use Amendment 11 to have their sentences reduced.”

FAMM also supported Amendment 4, which passed in Florida on election night as well. That amendment restores voting rights to 1.5 million people with felony records.

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 6 states 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.

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