News and Announcements

Act now to help give incarcerated persons a second chance

The widely praised Second Chance Act (H.R. 1704), a federal bill to help incarcerated persons reenter society, faces an important test on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 when the House Judiciary Committee will vote to "mark-up" the bill to the full House of Representatives. 

H.R. 1704 has received wide bipartisan support thus far with 109 cosponsors, including Reps. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), the chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, respectively.  In addition, FAMM along with 131 professional organizations support its passage.  

The need for better reentry programs has never been more urgent.  Every year, approximately 650,000 people leave prison unprepared for the transition into society.  It is no surprise that nearly two-thirds of them will be rearrested within three years.  They deserve a better second chance, and H.R. 1704 will help give them that.  Click here  <> to support this bill!  

Among other things, H.R. 1704 would provide federal funds to help state and local communities with reentry programs for education, drug treatment, housing, employment, and family support.  It would also extend funding for these projects to incarcerated juveniles-a group tragically on the rise.  To prevent wasteful government spending, the Second Chance Act would require grantees to demonstrate progress in measurable areas such as staying crime free and maintaining employment and education, and participating in drug treatment and mental health services.  Failure to meet these goals would prevent future awards.  

The Second Chance Act would also create a pilot program for the early release of nonviolent, elderly prisoners.  H.R. 1704 would direct the BOP Director to choose at least one federal penitentiary to test the program.  Although most elderly prisoners probably would not be eligible, the pilot program represents a major step forward in changing the tough-on-crime mentality in Congress.  

For these reasons, Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) said, "the Second Chance Act gives hope to the hopeless and provides help for the helpless."  Because your U.S. Representative serves on the House Judiciary Committee, your letter could help convince a key member to support this bill or thank him or her for cosponsoring it.  So please take action now <> ! Sincerely,

Julie Stewart
FAMM President

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1991 in response to inflexible and excessive penalties required by mandatory sentencing laws.  FAMM promotes sentencing polices that give judges the discretion to distinguish between defendants and sentence them according to their role in the offense, seriousness of the offense and potential for rehabilitation.  FAMM’s 38,000 members include prisoners and their families, attorneys, judges, criminal justice experts and concerned citizens.  

For more information about FAMM, contact us at:
1612 K St. NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-6700