Advocacy by Peter
After advocating for his miraculous release from Federal Prison in 2001, Families Against Mandatory Minimums hired Peter. In his position as their Midwest Regional Trainer/Organizer, he tirelessly advocated for changing sentencing laws to have the punishment fit the crime, with primary focus on drug treatment alternatives to prison.
He believes that while intervention by the criminal justice system is necessary for himself and many others, that far too often the sentences go light years beyond the point of diminishing return and become counterproductive to the individuals, families and communities they leave for far too long. A huge part of the problem is that 95% of those in prison for drug related offenses who do not receive treatment in or outside of prison upon their release, end up relapsing into drugs, and 70% return to prison (NIDA, 2006). This is in large part because this disease has to be treated in the environments where the symptoms occur.
In 2003, Peter became part of a core group of people who advocated for the successful passage of SB123 in Kansas. This legislation mandated that those convicted of drug possession were mandated to receive state funded treatment rather than state funded prison. Even though this was deemed a much more effective and efficient alternative to help those suffering from this disease, the 1200 inmates who remained in prison, some for decades, were not allowed this same opportunity. Peter and Republican Representative Bill McCreary thought that giving these folks the anecdote of drug treatment needed to be an essential component of the bill.
Despite three years of passionate advocacy supported by FAMM, they were not able to convince the Kansas Legislature to make this bill retroactive to help these folks out after prison. This was primarily due to the fear of being perceived as soft on crime.The SB123 Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison legislation has been deemed very successful and continues today with Peter and The Caring Center of Wichita, being one of the many community providers in Kansas.
Causes for Which Peter is an Advocate
- Ex-offenders face tens of thousands of legal restrictions, bias and limits on their rights, which was featured in the ABA Journal.
- Few Funds for Drug Abuse Treatment, from The Wichita Eagle.