Contact: Rabiah Burks
FAMM Commends Idaho House of Representatives for Passing Meaningful Safety Valve Legislation
BOISE, IDAHO – Today, the Idaho House of Representatives passed HB 581, 46 to 20. The bill, introduced by Reps. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) and Christy Perry (R-Nampa), would create a “safety valve” mechanism that would allow Idaho courts to depart from a mandatory minimum drug trafficking sentence if that minimum sentence would result in “manifest injustice” and be unnecessary to protect the public.
“HB 581 is not a jail break and will not foster a culture of leniency for drug crimes in Idaho. The bill does not even eliminate mandatory minimums, as bills passed in many other states have done. Instead, a safety valve gives judges limited power to save expensive prison beds for the most serious offenders, and to give addicts and low-level dealers more appropriate sentences, which will get them back on track without wrecking their families and future chances for success,” said Molly Gill, Vice President of Policy for Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
After a contentious fight in the House of Representatives, the bill now moves to the Senate, where the chamber must approve the bill before session closes at the end of March.
Other states that have adopted safety valve sentencing provisions similar to HB 581 include Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia. HB 581 is also similar to model legislative language adopted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.
“Safety valves aren’t a new or revolutionary idea,” said Gill. “They’re a state-tested, state-approved solution to an important problem. Idaho should join the list of states adopting this sensible policy and pass HB 581 this session.”
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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