FAMM calls for more reforms in final bill
Contact: Mike Riggs, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, DC —The Sentencing Reform Act (H.R. 3713), the U.S. House version of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123), was approved unanimously today by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. While the bill puts us one step closer to much-needed federal sentencing reform, it still doesn’t do enough, said FAMM President Julie Stewart.
“As we have reflected on the bills and tried to determine their likely impact on past and future offenders, public safety, and the federal prison budget, we have concluded that these proposals fail to match the overwhelming support for reform that can be found across the political spectrum,” Stewart said in a statement released in advance of the markup.
In the coming months, FAMM will ask Congress to make significant improvements to the final version of the Sentencing Reform Act and its Senate version. The version that passed through the House Judiciary Committee today, if it becomes law, includes provisions that will:
- Reduce the mandatory life without parole sentence for a third drug offense to a mandatory minimum term of 25 years in prison (retroactive for some people);
- Reduce the mandatory minimum 20-year sentence for a second drug offense to a mandatory minimum term of 15 years in prison (retroactive for some people);
- Expand the kinds of prior convictions that expose drug offenders to these lengthy mandatory minimum sentences;
- Make the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) of 2010 retroactive, allowing approximately 5,300 crack cocaine offenders sentenced before August 3, 2010, to seek sentences in line with that law’s reforms to the 100-to-one disparity between crack and powder cocaine mandatory minimum sentences;
- Expand the drug “safety valve” exception so that nonviolent drug offenders with non-serious criminal histories can receive sentences below the mandatory minimum term (not retroactive);
- Reduce the 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for certain gun possession offenses by people with criminal records to a mandatory minimum term of 10 years (retroactive for some people);
- Reduce the 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for those who commit multiple offenses of possessing guns in the course of drug trafficking offenses to a mandatory minimum term of 15 years (retroactive for some people);
- Expand the kinds of prior convictions that expose gun possessors to these lengthy mandatory minimum sentences; and
- Require reporting and data collection by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Sentencing Commission on mandatory minimum sentences.
“Historic moments call for historic reforms. When 77% of the public, including 71% of Republicans, thinks we should be getting rid of mandatory minimums entirely for nonviolent offenders, Congress can do more than these bills do. And when they don’t, families, taxpayers, and public safety suffer,” said Stewart.