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Storm For Sentencing Reform March 16, 2009

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

There is the perfect storm for sentencing reform brewing right now.  Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced bills that would, if they pass, change the face of sentencing!

  • Rep. Waters wants to eliminate mandatory minimums. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) introduced HR 1466, the "Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act of 2009.” The bill would get rid of all mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses; discourage federal prosecutions of low-level drug offenders, and allow courts to place drug offenders on probation or suspend their sentence. Introducing her bill to Congress, Waters cited FAMM’s "Correcting Course " report as evidence that Congress has shown the will to repeal drug mandatory minimums before and should do so again. Click here to read Rep. Waters’s statement.
  • Rep. Scott seeks to end mandatory minimum sentencing for crack and powder cocaine.Congressman Robert "Bobby" C. Scott (D-Va.), introduced H.R. 1459, the "Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009." The bill would eliminate the distinction between powder cocaine and crack cocaine; eliminate all mandatory minimum sentences for cocaine, and establish the possibility of probationary sentences for cocaine offenders.
  • Rep. Davis demands more good time. Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.) introduced H.R. 1475, the "Federal Prison Work Incentive Act of 2009," legislation that would substantially revive the good time system that existed before November 1, 1987, when the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) was passed. The bill would increase good time and provide additional opportunities to reduce a sentence by engaging in work opportunities.
  • You can learn more about these bills by clicking here .

    The economic crisis was already draining state budgets. Now we’ve learned that for the first time ever, prison and probation costs are rising faster than any other state expenses, including Medicaid, education, and transportation!

    These findings were released in a report published last week by the Pew Center for the States, which also found that an astounding number of people in this country – 1 out of 31 – are in jail or prison, or on parole or probation!

    One out of 31 people…  If this depressing trend continues, one child out of every grade-school classroom can expect to be under correctional supervision in the future.

    This bleak situation makes the message that FAMM has been sending for years easier to hear.  Our practical, front-end, and permanent solution of reforming sentencing laws can help states climb out of their budget holes without jeopardizing public safety.

    And we see many states already moving in that direction.

    Just weeks after FAMM launched its new campaign in Nevada, policymakers there are poised to introduce a bill to limit the reach of the state’s mandatory minimum penalties.   New York’s draconian Rockefeller drug laws are finally on the brink of falling after 35 years.  And, according to the Pew report, even conservative states like Texas and Kansas have already implemented non-prison alternatives to help people get back on their feet and save taxpayers money.

    Sometimes it takes a crisis to bring the change that is a long time coming. The Pew report makes clear we have reached a crisis point. The skyrocketing economic cost of one-size-fits-all sentencing can no longer be ignored. We need to repeal wasteful mandatory minimums NOW!

    So, please, help us make the most of this crisis by passing the reforms we’ve always needed. Your support makes all the difference.  We must move now before the perfect storm passes.

    FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) is a great organization committed to working for fair and proportionate sentencing laws.

    They need your help today. Please 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, 20006.

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