86% of respondents favor repeal or reform
BOSTON – Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) has issued an updated report about candidates’ positions on Massachusetts’ drug sentencing laws. This version, prepared to educate voters ahead of the general election, details how the final slate of candidates for five major state races view mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses.
FAMM asked candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Governor’s Council and District Attorney four questions about sentencing laws for drug offenses:
- Do you support the repeal of mandatory minimum sentences?
- If not, do you support the reform of mandatory minimum sentencing laws?
- Do you support longer mandatory minimum sentences?
- Do you support additional mandatory minimum sentences?
Of the 22 candidates who responded to FAMM’s survey, nearly 73% favor repealing mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. Another 14% support reforming Massachusetts’ drug sentencing laws, even though they do not favor full repeal. Only one respondent opposed both repeal and further reforms.
No candidate was in favor of increasing the length of mandatory minimum sentences or enacting additional mandatory minimum sentencing laws. The full results can be found online and in FAMM’s special report, “Massachusetts Candidate Views on Drug Sentencing Laws, 2014.”
“As with our pre-primary report, most candidates who answered our survey support the repeal or reform of mandatory minimums for drug offenses. In fact, this may be one of the few issues that many Republicans, Democrats, independents and minor party candidates agree on,” said Barbara J. Dougan, director of FAMM’s Massachusetts project.
Dougan noted that candidates’ views are becoming more aligned with the sentiments of Massachusetts voters. Earlier this year, MassINC released polling data showing that only 11 percent of Massachusetts voters still support mandatory minimums for drug offenses. “In addition, given the opiate crisis, it’s obvious that mandatory minimum sentencing laws aren’t working as intended. Voters want sentencing policies that allow judges to send those whose crimes are driven by addiction to treatment programs, rather than warehousing them in prisons at the taxpayers’ expense.”