DATE: April 15, 2010
On Tax Day, FAMM Tells Fiscal Watchdogs Not to Overlook
Wasteful Prison Spending, Growing Population of Nonviolent Inmates Pushes BOP Budget over $6 Billion
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Julie Stewart, founder and president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), released the following statement:
“Today is Tax Day, the day federal income tax returns are due. It is customary on this day for budget hawks in Washington, DC to point out the myriad ways that rising federal spending is driving up tax bills. We at FAMM are pleased that more and more fiscal watchdogs are acknowledging the role of skyrocketing corrections costs at both the state and federal level.”
Leading taxpayer advocates in Washington and across the states have begun speaking out about the high cost of misguided sentencing policies. In testimony before the House Judiciary’s Crime Subcommittee, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said, “Viewed through the skeptical eye I train on all other government programs, I have concluded that mandatory minimum sentencing policies are not worth the high cost to America’s taxpayers.”
At the same congressional hearing, David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union said, “Perhaps the most successful weapon in the budget hawk’s arsenal is cost-benefit analysis....Oddly, we have not always insisted on such analysis in criminal justice matters, including sentencing. We need to start.”
And, in two states where FAMM is leading reform efforts, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and Florida Tax Watch have both expressed support for cost-effective sentencing reforms.
According to the Pew Center on the States, the federal prison population has more than doubled since 1995. The rising population, which has risen to over 210,000 individuals, is a product of tougher sentencing laws, including mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders. The growth has caused the Bureau of Prisons budget to rise to $6.1 billion in 2009.
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is a national non-partisan non-profit organization that promotes just sentencing policies. For more information, visit: www.famm.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.