Press Release

FAMM releases statement on DOJ’s decision to drop Mack Appeal

Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700

FAMM releases statement on DOJ’s decision to drop Mack Appeal

WASHINGTON – FAMM President Kevin Ring hailed the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to drop its appeal of the First Step Act release of Jesse Opher, Hassan Hawkins, and Rodney and Ronald Mack.

“We are so happy for these guys,” Ring said. “They have lived with a cloud over the heads for a year and a half, and now they can finally move forward with their lives. We raised this case among others with the Biden transition team as an appeal that should be dropped right away. It would have been cruel and unjust it would be to send these guys back.”

The four men had each served nearly 20 years before being released in November 2019 under the First Step Act’s retroactive crack cocaine sentencing reform. However, after their release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of New Jersey filed an appeal to send them back to prison. They were among several people across the country facing attempts made by DOJ to appeal First Step Act releases since the passage of the bill.

Learn more about the Mack Brothers here.

Read Kevin Ring’s Op-ed on the Mack Brothers in Above the Law.

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.