Press Release

New Report Reveals Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Unsustainable for State Prison Systems

18 States Exceeded Maximum Measure of Prison Facilities’ Capacities in 2014

Arlington, VA (March 29, 2016)— States are experiencing unsustainable levels of incarceration in their prison systems , some as high as 171 percent of the design capacity, according to a new report, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Reform Saves States Money and Reduces Crime Rates, released today by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The report offers lawmakers recommendations on how to lower the incarceration rates of low-level, nonviolent offenders and drug offenders, and give taxpayers the most public safety benefit for their dollar.

“Public safety is the primary goal, but imposing mandatory minimum sentencing to nonviolent, low-risk offenders is inefficient and counterproductive to providing safety to taxpayers,” said Ronnie Lampard, Director of the ALEC Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform. “By saving space in prisons for violent offenders or repeat offenders, states can reduce costs and also optimize safety in their communities.”

The report highlights a solution that would allow judges to stray from mandatory minimums based on their discretion for low-level offenders that meet specific criteria.

“Safety valves allow judges to impose the appropriate sentence which could mean prison or non-prison sanctions,” said Greg Newburn, report author and State Policy Director at Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). “Evidence has shown that safety valves reduce incarceration rates, save states money and most importantly, keep the public safe.”

To download a copy of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Reform Saves States Money and Reduces Crime Rates, visit

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