MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In just a matter of weeks, Tennessee’s new ‘Truth in Sentencing’ Bill becomes law and the impact could loom large over the state’s criminal justice system for decades.
Earlier this month, Governor Bill Lee allowed the measure to become law without his signature.
When it takes effect in July, people convicted of violent crimes, ranging from homicide to carjacking, will have to serve 100% of their sentence with no chance for parole or time off for good behavior.
The law is expected to increase prison expenses by $256 million over the next decade.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich is among those who support the change.
She explained why earlier today on Live at 9.
“Part of the reason nobody wants to be prosecuted by the feds is because the federal sentencing laws mean what they say. And now, finally, in Tennessee we have gotten closer to that model with this new legislation that takes effect July 1. And hopefully, it will make people realize that Tennessee takes public safety seriously and that Tennessee cares about victims of crime,” Weirich said.
A report by the State Criminal Justice Investment Task Force shows Tennessee has the fourth highest violent crime rate in the nation.
Nearly half of offenders are re-arrested within three years of their release.
That report acknowledges that over the last decade, Tennessee’s incarceration rate has climbed above the national average but communities are no safer.
For the full report, visit here.