By Samuel Marti
The first thing you notice when you arrive in Miami is the heat. Imagine you’re wrapped in an invisible blanket. The extra water vapor makes it feel like you have to chew the air before you can breathe it. If you’re like me, you’re already moist, dripping beads of sweat that leave clothes clinging to you in terribly unflattering ways. And because of the humidity, the sweat takes longer to evaporate — you’re flushed again in no time.
Us Floridians are acutely aware of how nice living somewhere warm is, but many of our summers are marred…
By Claire Tate
Last week, The S.T.A.R.T. Project — FAMM’s partner based in Arizona — teamed up with FAMM to launch the #YearWithoutHugs campaign. We asked the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry (ADCRR) director, David Shinn, to release clear and specific criteria for when in-person visits will be allowed, what benchmarks must be met for the reopening plan to move forward, and the rules for arranging and participating in face-to-face visits once again.
We were thrilled to receive a letter from Director Shinn on May 24 informing us that he will end #AYearWithoutHugs. The ACDRR also released new…
By Kevin Ring
Eighty-seven United States senators — Republicans and Democrats — came together in 2018 to repudiate some of the worst mandatory minimum sentences in the federal code. Eighty-seven. It’s hard to get 87 senators to agree on anything these days, so it tells you something about how awful these laws were.
These mandatory sentencing laws sent thousands of people guilty of low-level drug offenses away for decades and sometimes life because they had prior (and also minor) convictions. …
By Rabiah Burks
I’m happy to announce that the award-winning documentary “The Vanishing Trial,” a co-production between FAMM & the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is now on Kanopy.
For me, this is the culmination of years of building and growing video production services at FAMM. When we invested in video, we knew that we wanted to go beyond creating content solely for our social media platforms. We wanted to include documentary filmmaking so that we can teach people about our issues in an engaging way.
“The Vanishing Trial” is FAMM’s first-ever documentary. It focuses on four individuals…
By Debi Campbell
As FAMM’s Deputy Director of Family Outreach and Storytelling, I’m always telling people to share their stories. This Mother’s Day, I’d like to share mine.
I had my first daughter at 17, then another soon after that. As a single mom, I waitressed at night, scrounging every tip I got, down to the penny. We lived in California, and when I could, I would dress my girls in matching bathing suits and we’d head to the beach for a little fun.
About 10 years later, I got married and had two more girls. Things got rough, fast…
By Ann Espuelas
Prison life: Same activities, same food, same walls to stare at — all of it mind-numbing, day after day. Yet somehow, many people who live there do remarkable things. Funny things, important things, creative things.
It’s clear from the inhumanity of our criminal justice system, though, that lawmakers seem to think of people in prison as somehow not human. Not capable of appreciating beauty, of depth of feeling or thought, not worthy of redemption.
They should meet these people, all currently incarcerated …
… a man in the canine training program who takes 24/7 care of Flo…
By MaríaEmilia Morazán
Writing to incarcerated people is critical to any work that seeks to transform our criminal justice system. It centers the lives and experiences of people who are most affected by our nation’s prison system, and helps remind them they are not alone.
I strongly encourage you to write to an incarcerated person. The best way to learn about an issue is to listen to the people experiencing it!
By Debi Campbell
FAMM Note: Often it is the case that people in prison know the ins and outs of their sentence better than anyone — even their lawyers. Here at FAMM we get a lot of mail from people in prison, and we thought this letter did a good job explaining an especially complicated sentence structure. It’s not exactly a “story,” but it’s a great look into a bad sentence and a very smart man.
My name is Robert A. I am 46 years old and have been in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for over 24 years now…
By Ann Espuelas
Imagine being in prison for years. Now imagine if one day, the staff told you to pack your bags, that you were being released to home confinement for the rest of your sentence. You gather what little you have, you say goodbye to the friends you’ve made, and with huge relief and gratitude you walk through those prison gates. Maybe your family is waiting for you on the other side. Your kids can’t stop hugging you, and they ask you if you ever have to go back. Of course you tell them no. …
By Juliana Andonian
This time last year, I was watching my boss, Kevin Ring, grow increasingly disconcerted. Our D.C. office had been closed for weeks, and I was working from my dining room table as the news of the pandemic grew more and more dire. We talked about what measures could be taken to help people in prisons and jails, but we felt helpless. I wrote to a friend in prison that it felt like watching a tsunami in slow motion.
In the year before COVID-19 hit, we had been working on a project we called the Federal Compassionate Release…
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies.