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Formerly incarcerated reform advocates urge the Senate to act on justice reform

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Contact: Lani Prunes
lprunes@famm.org
202-822-6700

Press release

Formerly Incarcerated Reform Advocates Urge the U.S. Senate to Act on Justice Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 40 formerly incarcerated criminal justice reform advocates, who collectively served 352 years in prison, signed a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate urging them to pass federal criminal justice reform before the end of the year. Signatories to the letter include FAMM’s president, Kevin Ring, and communications outreach associate, Debi Campbell, as well as FAMM board members Norman Brown and Shon Hopwood. Other signatories include advocates and representatives from various organizations, including #cut50, the American Conservative Union Foundation, Operation Restoration, Prison Fellowship, CAN-DO Foundation, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

Last month, the FIRST STEP Act, H.R. 5682, sponsored by Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 360 to 59. The bill faces an uncertain fate in the U.S. Senate, in part because some lawmakers and advocates have suggested the bill does not go far enough to reduce the high rate of incarceration.

“The people who served time in prison and work with families of the incarcerated every day understand that we should not wait to fix anything until we can fix everything,” Ring said. “Tens of thousands of families are struggling because of bad sentencing laws and limited rehabilitation opportunities. This bill provides some relief and hope. It would be a shame if it were to fail because of election-year politics.”

The positive reforms in the bill include ending the practice of shackling pregnant women in prison, increased good time credit, compassionate release reform, keeping prisoners within 500 driving miles of their loved ones, expanding the use of home confinement, and additional funding for recidivism-reducing programming in prisons. The advocates say the FIRST STEP Act has the potential to positively impact more than 180,000 people in federal prison and their families.

FAMM is a nonpartisan, national advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice reforms to make our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM promotes change by raising the voices of families and individuals who are directly affected by counterproductive sentencing and prison policies.  

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