Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is a national nonprofit organization that challenges the inflexible and excessive penalties required by mandatory sentencing laws. It is the only advocacy group devoted entirely to sentencing reform. Congress enacted mandatory sentencing laws in 1986 because lawmakers believed that rigid, severe drug laws would catch drug kingpins and deter others from entering the drug trade. The laws established drug weight and type as the only factors that judges can consider in determining drug sentences and prescribed fixed and predetermined sentences for these crimes. In 1988, Congress created new mandatory sentences for drug conspiracy (under which drug weight had only to be alleged) and the presence of a firearm during a felony offense, as well as a five-year mandatory sentence for mere possession of five grams of crack cocaine. Most states also enacted mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses in the 1980s. As a result of ...