DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network


Safety Valve Provision Alert

The following alert was sent out by the national office of FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums), urging its members and supporters to contact certain key members of Congress and the Administration and ask them to support the retroactivity of the safety-valve amendment contained in the Crime Bill. Before you do this, however, the best thing you can do is to write and/or call your own senators and representatives to ask them to lobby the members of the conference committee. If you wish to have more impact than a single letter or call, but don't have time to schedule an appointment in person, the following technique is useful and time-efficient: call their offices and ask which legislative aide is working most closely on the Crime Bill. If that aid is not available, ask to make a telephone appointment with him/her. Then tell the aid your opinions on the safety valve, three-strikes you're out, and any other Crime Bill provisions you're interested in influencing. To reach your senators and representative:

        The Honorable {your congressman}        The Honorable {your senator} 

        House of Representatives                U.S. Senate 

        Washington, D.C. 20515                  Washington, D.C. 20510

(Families Against Mandatory Minimums)

* * * * * * * * URGENT ACTION ALERT * * * * * * * * *


It's becoming increasingly clear that the safety-valve may not be passed RETROACTIVELY. That would mean that none of the people in prison today would benefit from the safety-valve. The reason that we may not succeed in getting a retroactive safety-valve is because the Justice Department has pretty much made up its mind not to support it and expects the members of the Conference Committee on the crime bill to follow suit.

It's totally hypocritical of the Justice Department not to support the safety-valve retroactively, because in February they released their own study that showed over 16,000 nonviolent, low-level drug offenders are in federal prison. Their report concluded that "these resources could be used more efficiently to promote other criminal justice needs..." Yet, now, they're refusing to allow only 1,600 of those people to be given a reduced sentence. They need to hear from us!

We cannot allow the Justice Department to convince Congress that the safety-valve should not be retroactive. It's time to pull out all of the stops and make emergency phone calls to a few select people. Please distribute this list to as many people as you can, and urge them to firmly, but politely. Say something like this:

"Please support the retroactive application of the safety-valve in the conference committee crime bill. It will affect only 1,600 nonviolent people currently in prison, and will free up prison beds for the truly dangerous offenders. It will also create equity among inmates and prevent unneccessary prison violence from old-law prisoners who see new offenders receiving much shorter sentences for the exact same conduct."

The people who should be contacted immediately are:


        Senator Joseph Biden    Phone (202) 224-5225    Fax (202) 224-0139 

        Senator Alan Simpson    Phone (202) 224-3424    Fax (202) 224-1315 

        Senator Orrin Hatch     Phone (202) 224-7703    Fax (202) 224-6331

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, 10th St. & Constitution, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530

        Janet Reno comment hotline:     Phone (800) 546-3224    Fax (202) 514-4371

        Ron Klain, Counsel to Reno:     Phone (202) 514-2101 (Rm. #4420 - if you write)

        Sheila Anthony, Asst. Atty. General for Legislative Affairs:    

                                        Phone (202)514-2141 (Rm. #1145 - if you write)

WHITE HOUSE, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20500

        George Stephanopoulos, Senior Advisor to President: Phone (202) 456-1414

        Rahm Emanuel, Assistant to President: Phone (202) 456-2640 

        Patrick Griffin, Asst. to Pres. for Legislative Affairs: Phone (202) 456-2230

                                                                 Fax (202) 456-6220 

        President's comment line: Phone (202) 456-1111 

                                  Fax (202) 456-2883

The White House can influence the Justice Department, and the Justice Department can influence the Congress, and the Congress should have enough guts to act appropriately on their own....but they don't. So each call is very important.

We risk making this whole group mad at us if we are rude, so please be polite. They won't want to help us if we come across unreasonably.

I can't begin to stress how important this is. If we end up with a safety -valve that is NOT retroactive, we won't have won anything. Please help us let the key players know how important this is to the American public.

If you know of people who have fax machines and will help out, please fax them a copy of this memo, or call our office and we'll fax it to them.

Thanks for your help. We desperately need it NOW and through the coming week of June 6-10.


Pamela McCue
Regional Manager
Austin, Texas 78765
(512) 452-1303
Email: [email protected]

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