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Will elections lead to sentencing reform? November 8, 2008

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , add a comment

How late were you up watching election returns the other night?  After a campaign season that seemed to last forever, I am relieved that it is behind us.  I am also hopeful that the results of this election can lead to meaningful sentencing reform in Congress and in many states.

Of course, we don’t know exactly what to expect from the incoming Obama administration, but we think the tide in Washington and elsewhere is beginning to turn in our favor.  More and more leaders are taking stands in favor of individualized justice and against the ineffective approach of one-size-fits-all sentencing.

FAMM will be contacting the transition team tasked with setting up the new Obama administration in hopes of making sentencing reform a national priority. We could use your help in this effort.  Please consider sending a letter or email congratulating President-elect Obama, and urge him to end one-size-fits-all federal sentencing policies.  Don’t worry – our action center will provide you with a sample letter and tell you where to send your letter.

During the past year, FAMM achieved some hard won and long overdue changes to federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine.  We hope to keep this momentum going with the new administration and the new Congress next year to achieve more mandatory minimum reform.

As we documented in our recent report, Correcting Course , Congress and the White House have demonstrated bipartisan cooperation on sentencing reform in the past.  We are hopeful that we are approaching another tipping point now.  This is an exciting time to be a member of FAMM!

Warmest regards,

Julie Stewart
Families Against Mandatory Minimums

P.S. – Individual supporters like you are the lifeblood of FAMM, and that’s why I want you to know that there has never been a better opportunity for real sentencing reform. Through December 31, all donations to FAMM will be matched, dollar for dollar, by two generous FAMM supporters.  Click here to make a secure online donation, or send a check or money order to FAMM, 1612 K St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC, 20006Your contribution will really make a difference. If you have given recently, please accept our deepest thanks.


Measure 61, Mannix’s mandatory minimum measure, was beaten by Measure 57! November 5, 2008

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , add a comment

Election Results Are In!

We should take a moment to celebrate this incredible victory!

Yes, Measure 57 is flawed and was a difficult compromise. We acknowledge that. But make no mistake about the importance of what just happened. Through successful organizing, we averted the worst prison building policy proposal and what would have been the largest incarceration increase of non-violent offenders in Oregon ’s history. Certainly this is a moment worth commemorating.

Our Campaign’s Beginning: On April 5, 2008, Partnership for Safety and Justice held a campaign kickoff at a middle school in Salem/Keizer. Over one hundred and twenty people attended the day-long event designed to defeat IP 40 (Measure 61.)

Since May, PSJ volunteers have logged 1,770 hours and conducted personal outreach to over 15,000 Oregon voters through over 70 community presentations, over 4,500 doors knocked, 14,000 targeted phone calls, and 24 fundraising events.

PSJ was also a founding member of the steering committee that developed The Better Way to Fight Crime Committee. This Political Action Committee was the primary vehicle in the work to pass Measure 57.

So What Does This Mean for Oregon?

Measure 57’s success is an indication that Oregonians may be concerned about crime, but they want a smarter and different approach than the status quo. The public recognizes that a primary focus on prison building and incarceration is costly and ineffective, while investing in treatment and other prevention-focused programs reduces future crime and saves tax dollars in the process.

The legislature should take 57’s success as a clear message that Oregonians want a more thoughtful approach to public safety. It is not about posturing as tough but rather promoting policies that are smart. We will let the legislature know they need to deliver the treatment money promised in Measure 57. And in the long term, legislators should promote safe and sensible sentencing reform, restore judicial discretion , and begin to get a handle on Oregon’s burgeoning prison system. Thanks to All of You Who Helped Defeat Measure 61’s Mandatory Minimum Madness!
We have more work to do, but let’s celebrate the victory.