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FAMM releases statement on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of two criminal justice bills
WASHINGTON – FAMM President Kevin Ring released the following statement in response to two criminal justice bills that passed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today: the First Step Implementation Act of 2021 and the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021.
“When lawmakers pass reform, they should always apply it retroactively to those already serving excessive sentences. The First Step Act shielded thousands from extreme sentences, but it left behind people in prison. The bipartisan First Step Implementation Act fixes that and makes three key reforms from the 2018 law retroactive,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring.
The First Step Implementation Act of 2021 would allow courts to individually review cases and provide new sentences in line with the reforms in the First Step Act. Many FAMM members currently serving sentences that are no longer on the books have been waiting since the passage of the First Step Act to have an opportunity to have their sentences reconsidered.
No one should get stuck with an unjust sentence based on something as arbitrary as the day they went to court. This bill gives people the chance, but not the guarantee, of getting a fair sentence. FAMM previously expressed support for the First Step Implementation Act in March.
The Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021 would prevent unjust results and bring our sentencing laws into line with the meaning and intention of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. While the amendments require the government to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, current sentencing law allows judges to “veto” a not guilty verdict by punishing defendants for conduct of which they have been acquitted by a jury of their peers.
FAMM has long decried the use of acquitted conduct at sentencing and has repeatedly urged the United States Sentencing Commission to abandon its use.
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 at the state and federal level 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.