Here's the press release that goes with FAMM's new poll on mandatory minimums:
Contact: Monica Pratt Raffanel firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW POLL: Americans Oppose Mandatory Minimums,
Will Vote for Candidates Who Feel the Same
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new poll released today by Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) shows widespread support for ending mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses and that Americans will vote for candidates who feel the same way.
• Fully 78 percent of Americans (nearly eight in 10) agree that courts – not Congress – should determine an individual’s prison sentence.
• Six in 10 (59 percent) oppose mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders.
• A majority of Americans (57 percent) polled said they would likely vote for a candidate for Congress who would eliminate all mandatory minimums for nonviolent crimes.
“Politicians have voted for mandatory minimum sentences so they could appear ‘tough on crime’ to their constituents. They insist that their voters support these laws, but it’s just not true,” says Julie Stewart, president and founder of FAMM. “Republicans and Democrats support change and that should encourage members of Congress to reach across the aisle next year and work together to reform mandatory minimums. Mandatory sentencing reform is not a partisan issue, but an issue about fairness and justice that transcends party lines.”
During a time of financial crisis and uncertainty in the United States, reviewing current criminal justice policies and reforming mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders is an option that Democratic and Republican lawmakers are considering. Although neither is endorsing FAMM’s poll or report, Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) are both concerned about America’s prison and sentencing system.
“America is locking up people at astonishing rates. In the name of ‘getting tough on crime,’ there are now 2.2 million Americans in federal, state, and local prisons and jails and over 7 million under some form of correction supervision, including probation and parole. We have the largest prison population in the world,” says Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.), who is chairing a symposium on criminal justice and prison issues in October. “This growth is not a response to increasing crime rates, but a reliance on prisons and long mandatory sentences as the common response to crime. It is time for America’s leadership to realize what the public understands – our approach is costly, unfair and impractical.”