Julie Stewart

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Julie Stewart

"When Julie Stewart formed Families Against Mandatory Minimums in 1991, it was because the issue touched her personally. Her brother, a nonviolent, first-time drug offender was sentenced to five years in a federal prison for growing marijuana. Julie had never heard of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, but soon learned they were the reason the judge was forced to hand down a five-year sentence. Outraged that the judge no longer had the discretion to make the punishment fit the crime, Julie started FAMM to promote fairer sentencing laws. Feeling that the law was not only inflexible, but also excessive, FAMM has worked to challenge mandatory minimum sentencing and to promote policies that give judges discretion to distinguish between defendants and to ensure that the punishment fits the defendant's role in the crime. Throughout the years, with the help of their thirty-six thousand members, FAMM's work has directly contributed to fairer sentences for over 435,000 drug defendants nationwide and paved the way for the current shift away from mandatory sentencing policies. Among FAMM's successful legislative reforms were changes to federal LSD and marijuana sentencing policies, restoration of judicial discretion in certain federal drug cases, and the introduction of parole for nonviolent Michigan drug prisoners formerly serving life sentences." [1]

Resources and articles


  1. 2006 Citizen Activist Award Honorees, Gleitsman Foundation, accessed July 7, 2007.