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Over Crowding of Prisons

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FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) is an organization dedicated to changing laws and spreading the word about unfair laws and harsh sentences that are imposed on individuals through our justice system. FAMM has been a gateway to become proactive within my own community as far as taking action and reaching out to U.S. senators. The Smarter Sentencing Act is a bill that would cut mandatory minimums in half, make more defendants eligible for the “safety valve”, and make crack cocaine sentencing reforms retroactive. The safety valve is a two-point reduction that allows an individual to come down from a mandatory minimum and be eligible for a sentence along the federal guidelines. This is only one of many suggestions that would help save taxpayers money, reduce the federal prison population, and result in fairer sentences for non-violent first time offenders.
There are three main categories that can trigger a mandatory minimum. The most common penalty for mandatory minimums applies to drug trafficking. Under this statute the minimum must be met if there is a particular type of drug that exceeds a certain amount, a sale to someone under the age of 21, the employment of an individual under the age of 21, and/or occurring within 1,000 feet of a school zone. The second most common is a consecutive mandatory minimum sentence when there is possession or use of a firearm in connection with certain underlying offenses. The third and most frequently applied mandatory minimum is triggered by a defendant’s prior criminal history (18 U.S.C .924 (c)). There are two possible ways to avoid a mandatory minimum sentence; one is “substantial assistance” and two is the “safety valve”. These relief mechanisms bring defendants under the mandatory minimum and therefore are sentenced under the guidelines.
Overcrowding of prisons in America is an ongoing problem that continues to…...

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