FAMM thrilled to see Cynthia Powell released from prison

Tripp Laino, 202-999-4273

FAMM thrilled to see Cynthia Powell released from prison

Encouraging similar second-look action from State Attorneys across Florida

TALLAHASSEE – FAMM’s directory of Florida Policy Greg Newburn released the following statement in response to the release of Cynthia Powell from state prison last week. Powell, a first-time offender, was released last Friday after serving more than 17 years of a 25-year mandatory prison sentence. FAMM profiled Powell’s case to highlight the unintended consequences of Florida’s mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws, and has advocated her release for years.

“We couldn’t be happier that Cynthia is finally home with her family,” said Greg Newburn, FAMM’s Florida Director. “We are grateful State Attorney Satz decided to give Cynthia’s case a second look. The State Attorney’s office cited the change in its motion to support a reduced sentence for Powell.”

FAMM fought to change the sentencing laws under which Powell was convicted, which led to the law’s change in 2014, but she remained in prison as the law was not made retroactive. Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz recently announced a plan to review cases of people serving lengthy mandatory minimum drug sentences that have been reformed by the Legislature — a plan that can be adopted in other counties in Florida.

“State Attorney in Florida should feel comfortable adopting his equitable review process,” Newburn said. “There’s a Cynthia Powell in every circuit in Florida serving an unjust sentence of some kind or another. William Forrester, Erik Weyant, Jomari DeLeon – they all deserve a second look and a second chance.”

FAMM continues to advocate for making changes to mandatory minimums retroactive (which requires legislative approval) and would allow hundreds of people serving sentences like Powell’s to petition for re-sentencing under current 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.