Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
Rep. Jeffries, Rep. Armstrong, Families and FAMM to Speak at In-Person Press Briefing on Criminal Justice Reform in 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Armstrong (R-ND) and other congressional leaders, impacted individuals and families, leading justice reform advocacy groups, and other special guests will speak at an in-person press briefing urging Congress to pass pending criminal justice reform legislation at noon on Tuesday, July 27 at the Hall of States in Washington, DC.
“Families with loved ones serving extreme sentences cannot wait for reform, so they’re coming to Washington to tell lawmakers to get moving,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “They want Congress to get rid of the racially discriminatory crack disparity and to finish the First Step Act by making those commonsense reforms retroactive.”
The event, hosted by FAMM and Justice Action Network, will highlight momentum for the EQUAL Act and the First Step Implementation Act.
“Criminal justice reform remains the one issue where both parties can come together and deliver for the American people,” said Holly Harris, President and Executive Director of the Justice Action Network. “We’ve seen overwhelming support from the public and in committee votes, now we need leadership to bring these bills to the floor.”
The EQUAL Act, bipartisan legislation to end the disparity in federal prison sentences for crack and powder cocaine-related crimes, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on July 21 by an overwhelming 36-5 vote. The Senate version is awaiting consideration.
The House EQUAL Act was sponsored by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Bobby Scott (D-VA). Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the EQUAL Act in the Senate and that bill has attracted support of Republicans, including Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Rand Paul (R-KY).
The EQUAL Act also received support from FAMM, the Justice Action Network, and others.
The First Step Implementation Act of 2021 would allow courts to individually review cases and provide new sentences in line with the reforms in the First Step Act. Many FAMM members currently serving sentences that are no longer on the books have been waiting since the passage of the First Step Act to have an opportunity to have their sentences reconsidered.
No one should get stuck with an unjust sentence based on something as arbitrary as the day they went to court. This bill gives people the chance, but not the guarantee, of getting a fair sentence.
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.