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FAMM Fights for Drug-Free School Zone Law


One of the biggest targets of our
advocacy over the years has been one-size-fits-all sentencing rules,
including state drug-free school zone laws and so that’s what brings us here
today. I got on board when I saw an opportunity to say, now wait a minute,
we’re using resources here for somebody who might be a first-time offender 999
foot away from a school when we can take those same resources and actually put
them to use somewhere else. And that’s why I was glad to bring a
bill that’s going to take some of the monies that would reallocate them in a
wise fashion from the school zones by making them a smaller footprint but by
taking some of that extra money and actually putting them into some real
drug interdiction efforts. The idea of a drug-free school zone is noble
and we support the idea of a drug-free school zone. I mean everyone wants to punish
a little bit harsher someone who would target a child for drug activity. However,
what has happened is a significant number of people are being captured in
this drug-free school zone that don’t fit the intended consequences of the
bill and not only does that not serve the interest of justice and public
safety, it’s fiscally irresponsible. We were able to get mapping data
from the Tennessee government. They actually kept track of where all of the
different drug-free school zones are. Through our analysis we were able to see
that some of the people that we’re sending away in Tennessee for these long enhancements, they’re first-time offenders, they didn’t even
know they were in a school zone. My husband Terrance is on year 15 of a
22-year sentence. Terrance was in his apartment,
nine hundred feet away from the school at 11 o’clock at night when a controled
buy by law enforcement was set up that led to his arrest. If he had been
101 feet away, he may have possibly got a five-year sentence but instead he’s
serving 22 years. He’s extremely remorseful for what he’s
done and he didn’t do it like I said so
you know he’d get fame and fortune, he was really truly trying to support other
family members, to pay their bills, to get things done, put food
on the table. When the punishment outweighs the crime, where’s the justice
in that? She was addicted to drugs and then she began to sell drugs to support
her addiction. She also was in her apartment and she wasn’t selling drugs
to children but what ended up happening is she was within a thousand feet of a
school zone and so the enhanced sentencing on her is at a hundred
percent. Had she lived on the other side of her apartment complex, the same
charges against her, she would probably had a year to two years to serve. Her
mother and I fear what consequences she’s going to be suffering from being
among people who are much more hardened than she was. I was one of those people
before my daughter was addicted and had a drug problem. I was one of those people
that was for hard time. I thought that was the right way to treat drug
offenders, but since our experience I have realized how hard hard-time can be.
We’re not asking for you to let drug offenders off who target children. We’re
just asking you to please consider reforming the law.

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