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FAMM opposes Pennsylvania legislation creating new mandatory minimum sentence
HARRISBURG – FAMM Pennsylvania State Policy Director Celeste Trusty issued the following statement in response to the Pennsylvania Senate passing Tyler’s Law, a bill that creates a new 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence if someone sells drugs containing fentanyl and the user overdoses.
“It is 2023, yet some lawmakers continue to cling to the same failed approach to the War on Drugs from 1983,” said Trusty. “We have decades of research proving mandatory minimums to be ineffective and wasteful policy. They have been a primary driver of Pennsylvania’s unsustainable prison population which is now the second largest in the northeast. They perpetuate and exacerbate overwhelming racial disparities within our criminal justice system.
“We tried mandatory minimums before. They failed. The underlying case here is a tragedy, but this mandatory minimum bill won’t prevent overdoses or make us safer or healthier. It won’t stop people from using drugs or help people struggling with substance use. In fact, it will make us less safe by forcing judges to ignore effective alternatives and spend millions sending people to prison even if they don’t need to be there. I am hopeful the House will focus on crafting legislative responses that actually lead to positive outcomes for our communities.”
The memorandum about Tyler’s Law notes that fentanyl’s counterfeit nature can be deceptive for the drug user and seller, which is exactly why this making this one-size-fits-all punishment won’t work.
Similar concerns about the bill were raised by State Senators Sharif Street and Art Haywood, which can be viewed by clicking on this link.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.
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