Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
Statement of FAMM President Kevin Ring on Trump Support for FIRST STEP Act
Criminal justice reform organization applauds bipartisan efforts to curb mandatory minimum sentencing.
WASHINGTON –FAMM President Kevin Ring released the following statement today in response to President Trump’s endorsement of a bipartisan, comprehensive federal criminal justice reform bill:
Today’s endorsement of federal criminal justice reform legislation by President Trump is a modern-day “Nixon goes to China” moment. In fact, his tough rhetoric – from speaking out against “American carnage” to favoring the execution of drug dealers – just might have made him the best person to deliver reform of our harsh and counterproductive federal sentencing laws. With his support, the bipartisan compromise should pass quickly and overwhelmingly.
Politics aside, the compromise bill President Trump endorsed today will keep more families together, strengthen communities, and keep crime low. The bipartisan bill reforms some of the most punitive and unjust mandatory minimum sentencing laws and invests in proven rehabilitative programs.
FAMM endorses this smart approach. We realize that 94 percent of all prisoners are going to come home one day, and we should do everything we can to help them become productive, law-abiding members of our communities.
In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FIRST STEP Act as a prison reform bill with no sentencing reforms included. Senate leaders recently introduced a new version of the bill, which includes four important sentencing reform provisions. These reforms would impact only federal, not state, sentencing laws. The Senate must now pass its updated version and send it back to the House of Representatives for approval before the president can sign the bill into law.
Earlier this month, FAMM launched the #WeNeed60 Campaign, aimed at garnering the 60 Senate votes needed to pass the FIRST STEP Act. Sen. Mitch McConnell said earlier this month that he would bring the bill to the floor for a vote if his whip count ensures the support of 60 senators. The #WeNeed60 campaign encourages affected families, former prisoners, and the public to press their senators to commit to voting in favor of the FIRST STEP Act. Thousands of families flooded the phone lines of congressional leaders urging the bill’s passing.
FAMM has worked tirelessly with lawmakers, advocates, and families to pass a reform bill that would help as many prisoners and families as possible.
- For the original House version of the bill, which contained only prison reform, FAMM pushed to include a number of provisions. These are outlined in the FAMM report “Using Time to Reduce Crime: Federal Prisoner Survey Results Show Ways to Reduce Recidivism,” including good-time credit, compassionate release reform, and the 500-mile rule.
- FAMM then spearheaded a group letter signed by 40 formerly incarcerated criminal justice reform advocates, urging the Senate to pass the FIRST STEP Act.
- In July, FAMM held a lobby day and rally at the nation’s capital. Hundreds of families and advocates spoke with their lawmakers about the importance of passing the FIRST STEP Act.
- In August, when it was clear that the Senate would not pass a bill that didn’t include sentencing reform, FAMM held a nationally televised briefing to address this development.
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 in 6 states 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.
FAMM.org | www.facebook.com/FAMMFoundation | @FAMMFoundation
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