President and Founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums


Washington, D.C.


Julie Stewart is the president and founder of FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization fighting for smart sentencing laws that maintain public safety. In 1990, Julie was public affairs director at the Cato Institute when she became aware of mandatory sentencing laws. Her brother had been arrested for growing marijuana in Washington State, had pled guilty, and — though this was his first offense — had been sentenced by a judge to five years in federal prison without parole. The judge criticized the punishment as too harsh, but proceeded with the sentence because the mandatory minimum law left him no choice. “My brother has long since left prison and now has a wife, two beautiful children and a good job,” says Julie. “But I am still motivated by the unfairness of a system in which politicians mandate sentences for defendants they have never laid eyes on. I am also motivated by the faces of all those now serving needlessly long sentences — and their families who await their return.”



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Public Policy & Law

“see her speak”
Julie Stewart on Cato Institute Video