NOVEMBER 1, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Responding to yesterday’s release of the U.S. Sentencing Commission report on federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws, FAMM president Julie Stewart made the following statement:
“The U.S. Sentencing Commission was established by Congress to serve as the nonpartisan experts – to review empirical evidence about sentencing policies and practices and to make recommendations to Congress. In its new report, the Commission confirmed what we’ve been saying for years: most mandatory minimum sentencing laws are too harsh, are applied inconsistently, and are filling our prisons with so many small fish that they have contributed to an overcrowding and budget crisis. In short, they are an expensive failure.
“In its report, the Commission said any new penalty schemes should (1) not be excessively severe, (2) be narrowly tailored to apply only to those offenders who warrant such punishment, and (3) be applied consistently. While we wish the Commission went further to repudiate all mandatory minimums, we note Congress will find it nearly impossible to create new mandatory sentencing laws that meet the criteria set forth by the Commission. By their nature, mandatory minimums fail to meet one or more of these conditions,” said Stewart.
The Commission’s report also includes recommended reforms, many of which are sentencing reforms advocated for by FAMM. These include expanding the federal safety valve and reforming the 924 (c) gun stacking provisions.
Stewart comments, “I am encouraged that the Sentencing Commission report includes reforms that have been advocated by FAMM for many years, including allowing greater judicial discretion in sentencing low-level offenders. Each of these ideas is a step in the right direction and will result in better justice.
“The goal of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the Congress that guides them should be a sentencing system that prioritizes fairness, proportionality and justice for all.”
To learn more about FAMM, contact Monica Pratt Raffanel at (202) 621-5044 or email@example.com. Click here to read the Commission’s report on mandatory sentencing laws. FAMM is a national organization that supports fair and proportionate sentencing laws that allow judicial discretion while maintaining public safety.