In 1990, Julie Stewart was public affairs director at the Cato Institute when she first learned of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Her brother had been arrested for growing marijuana in Washington State, pled guilty, and — though this was his first offense — was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. The judge criticized the punishment as too harsh, but the mandatory minimum law left him no choice.
Motivated by her own family’s experience, Julie created Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) in 1991. Though her brother has long since left prison and has a beautiful family and a good job, Julie has continued the fight for punishments that fit the crime and the offender. Julie stepped down as FAMM’s President in December 2016, and now serves as Chairman of the Board. Kevin Ring is FAMM’s new president.
Since FAMM’s first meeting in 1991, the organization has grown to include 70,000 supporters, including prisoners, family members, practitioners and concerned citizens.
Take a look at FAMM’s 25 year history: