Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
TRUMP STATE OF THE UNION GUEST MATTHEW CHARLES
TO URGE NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE TO ENACT SENTENCING REFORM
RALEIGH, NC – Criminal justice reform advocates and Matthew Charles, President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union guest, will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 16, at 10:00 a.m. in the North Carolina General Assembly Room at the North Carolina State Capitol to urge state lawmakers to pass sentencing reform this year.
Matthew Charles served 21 years in federal prison for a drug offense and was released in January 2019 due to retroactive sentencing reforms included in the First Step Act, a bipartisan bill signed into law by President Trump on December 21, 2018. Charles is a Justice Fellow at FAMM, a nonpartisan criminal justice reform advocacy organization, and is traveling around the country urging lawmakers to support sentencing and prison reforms. Charles has appeared on national news programs hosted by Sean Hannity, Dana Perino, and Lester Holt, has been featured on NPR, and has been published in the Washington Post.
Charles will be joined by Sens. Bob Steinburg (R-District 1), Warren Daniel (R-District 46), and Danny Britt (R- District 13), the sponsors of the North Carolina First Step Act (SB 404). Also present will be Tammy Stanley, the mother of Graham Stanley, a Greensboro native and first-time offender serving a mandatory minimum 15-year sentence for his low-level role in a cocaine offense. Representatives from FAMM and Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina also will be present to discuss criminal justice reform efforts in North Carolina.
The North Carolina First Step Act is similar to other “safety valve” sentencing reforms adopted in many states, including Georgia, Virginia, and North Dakota. In December 2018, President Trump signed federal legislation that expanded a similar exception to mandatory minimum drug sentences in federal law. That bill, the First Step Act, passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, and the president held a celebration of the bill’s passage in the White House on April 5. The North Carolina First Step Act builds on the sentencing reform recommendations issued in December 2018 by the state legislature’s Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Drug Convictions.
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.
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