Legal Talk

Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013

April 29, 2013 by Anna M. Clausen in Legal Talk
Last week, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, S. 619, in the U.S. Senate. The bill creates a brand-new, broad “safety valve” that would apply to all federal crimes carrying mandatory minimum sentences. If passed, the Justice Safety Valve Act would allow judges to sentence people below the mandatory minimum sentence whenever that minimum term does not fulfill the goals of punishment. In a nutshell, if passed, the bill would restore sentencing discretion to judges in all future federal cases where a mandatory minimum applies!

After 20 years of fighting for reform, we’re so excited to see the Justice Safety Valve Act introduced. We are so grateful for the strong leadership of Senators Leahy and Paul, who realize that mandatory minimum reform is not a left issue or a right issue, but one that crosses party lines. The Justice Safety Valve Act recognizes that mandatory minimums are too expensive, have stuffed our federal prisons far beyond their capacity, and are not keeping us safe. Senators Leahy and Paul under-stand that one-size-fits-all justice is no justice at all, and that judges need flexibility to make the punishment fit the crime and the offender.

THE BILL IS NOT RETROACTIVE. That means it will not shorten sentences for people already in prison. But we still need your support! Even if it won’t help you get out of prison sooner, we need your help to make sure that future generations won’t be subjected to harsh, unnecessary mandatory minimums. If this bill becomes a law, it could help thousands of people and their families avoid spending too much time in prison because of mandatory minimum sentences.

THE BILL IS NOT A LAW. It has a long way to go before it can become a law and that s why we need help! You and your family members can write to your U.S. Senators today and ask them to cosponsor S. 619, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. Your families can find their Senators and a sample letter at our website, www.famm.org. More cosponsors mean more support for this bill, which means a greater chance of getting it passed into law.

To learn more about the bill, have a loved one visit www.famm.org/Federal/USCongress/BillsinCongress.aspx

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