Hey, the title of this piece is called FAMM. F-A-M-M. This is Kenjuan Congo, Jr. Inmate number ND7568. Calling from the belly of the beast.
Mandatory minimum sentences are a major topic as it relates to what they call criminal justice. Basically, mandatory minimums say a sentence must start at a certain point, and a judge cannot give anything less. Under this philosophy, mandatory minimums ensure equal sentences for a crime. The consequences also used as a deterrent.
That got me thinking. I think about when California adopted the three-strike law. This law imposes mandatory minimums for the third felony offense. And in this law, a California man was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 25 years for stealing three golf clubs. 25 years for stealing three golf clubs. Does every sentence be equal, or is there a such thing as extenuating circumstances?
I think about Weldon Angelos who was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison after three marijuana sales. The judge of his case said, and I quote, “The court believes the sentence Mr. Angelos to prison for the rest of his life is unjust, cruel, and even irrational.”
It worries me knowing even judges oppose these sentencing guidelines. Wouldn’t you be worried knowing that a Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy, went on record to condemn these forced mandatory minimums? And after all of this, mandatory minimums are still here.
A sentence shouldn’t be based on a mandatory minimum. Consequences should be based on the merits of the offense. To fight against mandatory minimums, there is an organization called FAMM. It’s spelled with two Ms. It stands for Families Against Mandatory Minimums. two M’s. It stands for families against mandatory minimums.
This is Kenjuan Congo, Jr. from the belly of the beast. Thank you. All power to the people.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.