For Immediate Release


Monica Pratt Raffanel 202-621-5044

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)

FAMM Applauds President Obama for Signing Bipartisan Crack Cocaine Bill: Next Step Retroactivity

Office ceremony on Aug. 3, President Barack Obama signed sweeping
reforms to federal crack cocaine laws, reducing unduly harsh sentences
for crack violations and repealing
the five-year mandatory minimum for simple possession of crack cocaine -
the first time that a mandatory minimum drug sentence has been repealed
since the Nixon Administration.  The overwhelmingly bipartisan bill
received support from Sens. Richard Durbin,
Jeff Sessions, Tom Coburn, and Reps. James E. Clyburn, Robert C.
"Bobby" Scott, Dan Lungren and F. James Sensenbrenner.

president and founder Julie Stewart
offered this statement in reaction to the signing:

"It's deeply
rewarding to see significant reform of crack penalties.  For years the
sentences were widely understood to be flawed and illogical, created in
the heat of the drug war without any scientific
basis for their severity.  Hopefully, this victory signals the
beginning of new bipartisanship that will lead to even more commonsense
sentencing reforms.  The first test is whether Congress will finish the
job on crack reform and apply the law retroactively. 
When a corporation discovers a flawed product, it stops producing it
and orders a recall from the market.  Similarly, when Congress
acknowledged that crack penalties were flawed, they rightly corrected
them going forward, and now must provide due relief to
those already in prison serving stiff sentences for crack violations.


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"For 20
years, FAMM has worked with thousands of individuals and families who
have been directly impacted by harsh crack penalties.  Congress needs to
show them the same compassion, fairness, and justice
that the new law will provide to those entering the prison system."

The new law
does not eliminate the mandatory minimum for trafficking crack cocaine,
however the infamous 100-to-1 sentencing ratio is now reduced to
18-to-1.  Moving forward, 28 grams of crack cocaine
will trigger a five-year prison sentence and 280 grams of crack will
trigger a 10-year sentence.  The law could affect an estimated 3,000
cases annually, reducing sentences by an average of about two years and
saving an estimated $42 million over five years. 
The new law also increases sentences for drug offenses involving
vulnerable victims, violence and other aggravating factors.

Click here

to read a new Washington Post editorial lauding the signing and
recognizing FAMM for working to change the crack disparity for 20 years.
For more detailed information about
the history of the federal crack disparity and the changes that will
result under the new law, go to the following link at FAMM's website,


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Families Against Mandatory Minimums is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization supporting fair and proportionate sentencing laws that allow judicial discretion while maintaining public safety.  For more information on FAMM, visit or contact Monica Pratt Raffanel at

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