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2009: A Year of Firsts January 31, 2010

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The following is from Julie Stewart, President of FAMM:

The year is over but when I look back, I feel good about what I see.  2009 was a year marked by several sentencing “firsts” that make me bullish about the future.
1.    Justice Seeks Justice

For the FIRST TIME since the 1980s when unequal mandatory minimums for crack were enacted, the U.S. Justice Department in March announced its opposition to the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.
2. Crack in Cocaine Disparity

For the FIRST TIME in a generation, a committee of the United States Congress acted to eliminate the crack-powder sentencing disparity. The action by the House Judiciary Committee in July was followed by the introduction of a companion bill in the Senate.
3. Not-So-Mandatory Minimums

For the FIRST TIME in more than 30 years, Congress pushed forward a bill that would eliminate mandatory sentencing. This exciting development occurred in July when the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved a bill championed by FAMM to eliminate the “mandatory” aspect of mandatory minimum sentences.
4. The Right Joins The Fight

For the FIRST TIME since FAMM was founded 19 years ago, conservative leaders testified before Congress in opposition to mandatory sentencing laws.  The witnesses were presidents of two well-known national conservative groups, Americans for Tax Reform and the American Conservative Union. This development was very encouraging as I have long believed that real reform is going to take a bipartisan effort.
5. States Lead The Way

For the FIRST TIME in ages, three states rolled-back mandatory sentencing laws in a single year:  New York’s Rockefeller drug laws took a beating, Rhode Island repealed their mandatory minimum drug laws, and New Jersey will see changes to mandatory school zone penalties within weeks.  In addition, FAMM’s offensive in Massachusetts led to Senate passage of a bill to restore parole – even for those serving mandatory minimums. And most recently, FAMM just launched a campaign for mandatory minimum reform in the State of Florida, home to some of the most egregious mandatory penalties for prescription drug-related crimes.
2009 was indeed a year of many firsts, thanks in large part to your support.  Thank you for fighting alongside us for fair and balanced sentencing.  As we move to 2010, we look forward to making more history together!

Solicitation for Second Chance Act Grants to State and Local Governments Released January 29, 2010

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On December 22, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released the solicitation for Second Chance Act grant applications to state and local governments for adult and juvenile reentry demonstration projects (Section 101). Funding under this section is available to help state and local agencies implement programs and strategies to reduce recidivism and ensure the safe and successful reentry of adults and juveniles released from prisons and jails back to the community.

To download the solicitation or find out more about the grant program, click here.

The deadline for applications is 8:00 p.m. ET on March 4, 2010.

Inquiries about the solicitation should be directed to Dr. Gary L. Dennis, Senior Policy Advisor for Corrections, Bureau of Justice Assistance, at 202-305-9059 or gary.dennis@usdoj.gov. Inquiries about the juvenile-related requirements of this solicitation should be directed to Thomas Murphy, Grants Program Specialist, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, at 202-353-9059 or Thomas.murphy@usdoj.gov.

For more information about downloading the solicitation, applicant eligibility requirements, instructions on registering for the online grant application system, and other application materials, click here.

BJA will issue other Second Chance Act solicitations, including the request for Section 211 grant applications from nonprofit agencies/organizations, at a later date.


Congress Approves Over $222 Million for Prisoner Reentry Programs January 27, 2010

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On Sunday, December 13, 2009, the Senate approved an appropriations bill for the Department of Justice for fiscal year 2010 that provides $114 million for prisoner reentry, including $100 million for Second Chance Act grant programs and $14 million for reentry initiatives in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The House of Representatives passed the bill (H.R. 3288) on Thursday, December 10, 2009. The bill provides

* $37 million for reentry demonstration projects under Sec. 101 of the Second Chance Act
* $15 million for mentoring grants to nonprofit organizations under Sec. 211
* $10 million for reentry courts under Sec. 111
* $7.5 million for family-based, substance abuse treatment under Sec. 113
* $2.5 million for grants to evaluate and improve education in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities under Sec. 114
* $5 million for technology careers training demonstration grants under Sec. 115
* $13 million for reentry substance abuse and criminal justice collaboration under Sec. 201
* $10 million for reentry research under Sec. 245

The House of Representatives also approved an appropriations bill for the Department of Labor that provides $108,493,000 for ex-offender activities under the Second Chance Act and the Workforce Investment Act, including $15 million for transitional jobs for ex-offenders. For more information about the Second Chance Act, click here.
National Reentry Resource Center Launches Website

Earlier this fall, the National Reentry Resource Center’s (NRRC) website launched, providing the field with a first-of-its-kind, one-stop clearinghouse for reentry-related resources. The site provides users—regardless of their familiarity with reentry issues—with information they can tailor to their specific needs. Whether a community-based service provider is looking for the latest research on risk-based assessments, a state legislator is looking for innovative ways to improve reentry outcomes, or a person is looking for employment services for a loved one recently released from prison or jail, the NRRC website offers quick and easy access to relevant materials for various users. The website was designed to provide an array of resources for diverse needs, and all of the information on the site is accessible in just one or two clicks.


The Admin is back January 25, 2010

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Hi Everyone!

We had a major computer problem around Christmas time.  It took until today to purchase a new computer, upgrade the operating system, and migrate files from the old hard drive to the new one!!

We sincerely apologize it took so long to approve everyone’s comments, but the process has been completed as of right now.   The content will continue now to be updated regularly.

Thank you everyone for your understanding and patience!  We all hate computer problems!