Memphis Leaders Asking State for Help With Crime Problem

(Memphis) Memphis Police are investigating a robbery and shooting at the Sterling Townhomes on Raines.

Police say the victim was shot during a robbery just after midnight, and that suspect was also shot.

This continues a string of shootings in Memphis, with almost a shooting every day for the past week.

Now city leaders are pleading for help from the state to keep convicts behind bars.

Right now criminals are being convicted for violent crimes, but allowed out of jail for just serving a fraction of their sentence.

Jim Strickland believes the city’s crime rate is driving people out of Memphis, and the situation has gotten so bad he says the state must step.

Strickland wants the state legislators to toughen sentences, “We need truth in sentencing, meaning if you’re convicted of a violent crime and sentenced to ten years you must serve ten years and not be out after three.”

State Representative G.A. Hardaway is in Nashville for the session and says lawmakers should look at increasing the penalties for some convicted felons to deter them from committing even more crimes.

But Hardaway says it’s important to leave room for the judge to decide when each person should be allowed to parole out of jail.

WREG news commentator Otis Sanford said he believes part of the issue comes from plea deals for lesser charges.

Another problem he sees is with convicts getting out early due to overcrowding in jails.

“I think we need to look closely at the people who are in prison for drugs, especially drug use, and think twice about whether those people need to be in jail as opposed to people who are committing very, very violent crimes.”

Sanford says he believes the federal department of justice is going in the right direction by not sentencing certain drug crimes to prison time and the state should follow.

Representative Hardaway is on the criminal justice committee and says he doesn’t know of any items to toughen sentences, but he says they are talking about expanding electronic monitoring for people out on parole or probation to free up jail space.


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