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Contact: Rabiah Burks
FAMM Welcomes Introduction of Justice Safety Valve Act
Group Calls Bill “Perfect Response” to Sessions’ Memo
WASHINGTON – Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) applauds U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Robert Scott (D-VA) for reintroducing the Justice Safety Valve Act, a bill that would effectively repeal federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. The bill, if enacted, would allow a court to impose a prison term that is shorter than the mandatory minimum after considering sentencing criteria set by Congress. As in most cases, courts would base their sentences on the federal sentencing guidelines.
FAMM said the bill would allow courts to better tailor sentences to fit the facts and circumstances of each crime. If the Justice Safety Valve Act had been in place, the judge in Evans Ray’s case, for example, would have been able to impose a significant prison term, but not a mandatory life sentence, for Mr. Ray’s relatively minor drug offense. Mr. Ray’s judge is one of many federal judges who have spoken out against mandatory minimum sentences. One judge even decided to resign just six years into his life term rather than continue to impose mandatory minimum sentences.
“The Justice Safety Valve Act is the perfect response to Attorney General Sessions’ new charging memo,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “The bill effectively eliminates mandatory minimum sentences, which we know from experience put too many low-level, low-risk offenders in prison for too long.
“The public is not safer when politicians waste taxpayers’ money on unnecessary incarceration. But only Congress can change these laws, and this bill is one good way to do that,” concluded Ring.
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