FAMM VIDEO visually presents the stories of those most affected by counterproductive sentencing and prison policies.
Free Gwen Levi
During the pandemic, Gwen Levi was released from prison on home confinement. The 76-year-old cancer survivor served 16 years of a 24 year sentence for drug conspiracy. Ms. Levi was making the most of her home confinement, reuniting with her 94-year-old mother, loving siblings, and children and grandchildren. Now she sits behind bars again, because her case manager claims that she couldn’t find her while Ms. Levi was attending a computer class. UPDATE: Gwen was granted compassionate release, ending her sentence. Gwendolyn Levi has agreed to serve as a spokesperson for the group’s #KeepThemHome campaign, which is focused on securing clemency for the 4,000 people on federal home confinement.
Keep Them Home
The Biden administration will send 4,500 people on home confinement back to prison at the end of the pandemic. We cannot let this happen. Take action to #KeepThemHome bit.ly/KeepThemHome The Trump administration issued a memo inaccurately stating that the CARES Act requires people placed on expanded home confinement must return to prison after the pandemic. Many people have returned to their friends, children, spouses and other loved ones and have reintegrated back into society. They have become essential supports for their families and returning them to prison would rupture these family connections! The Bureau of Prisons have deemed these people “low-risk” and many of them have returned to work and resumed life outside of prison walls.
Prison Oversight Needs to Happen
The United States lags behind the rest of the Western world when it comes to prison oversight. The lack of independent monitoring leaves conditions ripe for inhumane treatment of prisoners. We hear from formerly-incarcerated people about what they experienced, as well as Sgt. John Meekins, a correctional officer, Professor Michelle Deitch (University of Texas at Austin), and Kevin Ring, President of FAMM. Strong oversight would benefit both prisoners, prison staff, family members, and the American tax-payers.
Don’t Send Them Back
Getting out of prison is a momentous day. Being told you may have to go back--despite successfully re-integrating with family, jobs and a place to live--is a nightmare. Kendrick Fulton, Miranda McLaurin and Robert Edwards—three returning citizens released on home confinement—share how they’re affected by the Trump Department of Justice’s memo from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which in its last days, incorrectly stated that people released to home confinement under the CARES Act must return to prison after the pandemic. None of the people released was told that they might have to return to prison, and the possibility is disruptive and stressful to all.
Florida’s Prison Crisis
Laurette Philipsen spent 8 1/2 years at Lowell Correctional Institution in Marion County, Florida. She shares her experiences about what she saw.
Explainers | State
Sandra Avery: A Second Chance
Sandra Avery received a life sentence after she was convicted for drug conspiracy on her husband’s charges. Fortunately, clemency has righted this particular wrong, and Sandra, now sober and hopeful, has a second chance.
Profiles | Sentencing
Quentin Burt Was Granted Compassionate Release
Quentin Burt was granted compassionate release after 30 years in federal prison. Everyone at FAMM is so happy for Quentin and Pam. We believe that everyone deserves a #secondchance.
Profiles | Compassionate Release
Voices of The Pandemic
The largest outbreaks of the coronavirus have been in correctional facilities. We hear the voices of prisoners locked behind bars while covid-19 spreads inside.
Our Work | Federal
Why A Second Look
SUPPORT THE DC SECOND LOOK ACT. People change and our laws need to reflect that. Tell the DC City Council that you support second chances.
Profiles | Mandatory Minimums
Everyone Deserves A Second Look
We've all heard about overly-harsh sentences, but what can be done? Second Look laws offer a way to re-evaluate a sentence and assess how much a person has changed, after ten years. Well-known former prisoners speak out on what they've done with their lives since their release: Shon Hopwood, Norman Brown, Matthew Charles and Stephanie Nodd.
Explainers | Sentencing
Empower, Advocate, Win
At FAMM's 2019 conference in Tampa, Florida, more than 150 families came together to learn how to "empower, advocate, win" in the fight for criminal justice reform. Featured speakers: Kevin Ring, President of FAMM; Desmond Meade, President of Florida Restoration Rights Coalition; Rudy Valdez, director of "The Sentence," Cindy Shank, advocate and subject of "The Sentence," and Matthew Charles, advocate and returning citizen.
Half Of Us
The shocking statistic about incarceration in America that lies hidden in daily life.
Explainers | Federal
Telling Stories, Taking Action
Once upon a time people affected by our broken criminal justice system kept their suffering inside. Mothers, kids, fathers, brothers and sisters—they didn’t tell anyone what was going on. But then they started speaking up. They started talking about their experiences in having a loved one in prison. They started telling the truth. They told their stories. And their stories made people see that reform was necessary, and change started happening. This is FAMM Storytelling. Tell your story and help us make reform a reality.
Retroactivity Stories: Florida’s Erik Weyant
Kerry Weyant’s son, Erik, was sentenced in 2007 to a mandatory minimum 20 years in prison for firing warning shots in Polk County, Florida. Erik’s unjust sentence prompted Florida lawmakers to eliminate the mandatory minimum for aggravated assault with a gun, which was Erik’s charge —but the change was not retroactive. Following voter approval of Amendment 11, which removed Florida’s constitutional ban on retroactive sentencing reform, the Florida legislature has the opportunity to make this sentencing correction retroactive. Doing so would free Erik Weyant, who has now served 12 years, as well as many others who received excessive sentences.
Matthew Charles: First Step, Second Chance
Matthew Charles, sent back to prison after being released due to prosecutors appealing his sentence reductions, was the first prisoner released under the First Step Act. Since, Charles has become an advocate for smart criminal justice reforms at every level. This bipartisan bill, passed by Congress and supported by President Trump, is seen as the early steps toward a true criminal justice system reform. His good friend, Naomi Tharpe, talks about what it's like to have a loved one incarcerated and how to remain hopeful.
Boots on the Ground
Find out how you can make a difference in criminal justice reform and become one of the "boots on the ground."
Our Work | State
FAMM States Work in 2019
Molly Gill, Vice President of Policy for FAMM, talks about the plans for criminal justice reform in 2019.
Our Work | State
Matthew Davis: A Prayer for Compassion
Matthew Davis is an incarcerated veteran with heart problems. Now 68 years old, he has earned a theology degree and has a prison ministry--but on the two occasions that he applied for compassionate release, he was denied. What will happen the third time?
Our Work | Compassionate Release
Veda Ajamu: Warrior for Justice
Follow the journey of Veda Ajamu as she moves from shock to determination in her battle to free her brother from prison. Today Ajamu is a dedicated advocate of prison and sentencing reform.
Profiles | Mandatory Minimums
I Want to Be That Voice
Two families advocate for the reform of the drug-free school zone law that gave their loved ones an excessive mandatory minimum sentence.
Profiles | Drug-free school zone law