Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
FAMM Statement on Findings of North Carolina’s Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Convictions
The criminal justice reform group calls for the reform of NC mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws in 2019
WASHINGTON – FAMM’s Vice President of Policy Molly Gill issued the following statement in response to the release of the final report and recommendations made by the North Carolina General Assembly’s Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Drug Convictions today:
“The same-old, same-old approach to drug problems isn’t working in North Carolina. Mandatory minimums and long prison sentences didn’t stop the opioid crisis, and doing more of the same won’t, either. North Carolina should join the long list of states around the country that are reforming mandatory drug sentences and focusing more resources on treatment. There’s not a moment to lose.
“We applaud the Task Force for recognizing that courts need flexibility to distinguish between people with substance abuse problems and career drug traffickers. Without that flexibility, the state is going to continue to waste expensive prison cells on people who aren’t a real danger and need treatment.”
Background on the Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Drug Convictions:
The Task Force has held numerous meetings over the last two years and sought the input of drug and public health experts about the opioid crisis. At today’s final meeting, the Task Force issued the final report and recommendations that it will submit to the General Assembly. The Task Force report found that “the traditional criminal justice model is not equipped to curb the overwhelming opioid epidemic.” It also recommended that the legislature “enact legislation creating a method to allow a judge to modify the mandatory minimums for offenses of trafficking in opium or heroin when appropriate.”
In August 2018, FAMM made a presentation to the Task Force describing how other states have repealed or reformed mandatory drug sentencing laws. FAMM urged the Task Force to recommend that the legislature give courts more discretion to avoid mandatory minimum sentences when unique facts or circumstances require it.
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 in 6 states 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.
1100 H Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005 | 202-822-6700