Too many people are serving long prison terms that don’t make us safer. People languish in prison for years—even decades—because our laws don’t give them a second chance. Extreme sentences devastate families and communities across the country, but they hit communities of color the hardest. We can do better.
We need to create as many mechanisms as possible to give people second chances, reunite families, and reduce mass incarceration. That’s why FAMM is leading a nationwide campaign in support of a Second Chances Agenda to:
- Pass “second look” laws. We need laws in every state that direct courts to reconsider a person’s sentence after 10 or 15 years to determine whether a shorter sentence is appropriate. Learn more about second look laws.
- Expand compassionate releases. Sometimes referred to as medical or geriatric parole or release, compassionate release programs at the state level are failing to allow early release for elderly and sick people who pose no risk to public safety. We need to change that. Learn more about how these systems work around the country and how FAMM is working to improve them.
- Expand clemency. The president and most governors have the authority to shorten excessive prison terms but often fail to use their clemency power to its fullest extent. FAMM is committed to working with governors and the White House to expand the use of executive clemency and to identify people who deserve a second chance.
FAMM also supports other reforms that prosecutors and lawmakers could use to provide second chances.
- Eliminate extreme mandatory sentences and make the reforms retroactive: When lawmakers pass smart reforms, they rarely apply them retroactively, leaving people to serve unjust sentences that are no longer in the law.
- Parole reform – Some states have parole, but rules and red tape make it too difficult for people to get it.
- Sentence integrity units – Prosecutors can promote second chances by reviewing sentences periodically to see if they are appropriate.
Learn More About the Second Chances Agenda:
- The Second Chances Agenda – Federal
- The Second Chances Agenda in our target states: