Truth in sentencing: TN now only state making violent criminals serve 100% of their sentence

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Friday afternoon, state and local leader ceremonially signed a bill that now makes Tennessee the state with the toughest penalties in the entire nation for violent criminals.

The legislation will month will require those who commit Class A violent crimes serve the full term of their sentence.

Crimes like: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, vehicular homicide resulting from intoxication, aggravated vehicular homicide, especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, carjacking, and especially aggravated burglary.

The bill was assertively sponsored by Tennessee Speaker Cameron Sexton who said this will save lives.

“There’s a lot of people, if we would’ve had this twenty years ago, they’d still have their family members, or they wouldn’t have become a victim. And so, we’re trying to separate between violent offenders and non-violent offenders,” Sexton said. “The sentencing commission in 2020 put out a report, if you’re in prison five years or longer, you’re thirty five percent more less to have Recidivism. Ten years or longer you’re forty five percent less likely to have Recidivism. Stronger sentencing does provide less Recidivism.”

Steve Crump is the legislative chair for Tennessee’s district attorneys. He said mercy still has its place in sentencing criminals, but this bill is about putting the most dangerous people away.

“There was a time, where in Tennessee, you could a ten year sentence, and you might serve 18 months of those ten years. Well those folks were right out back among us. The ones who are truly deserving of some opportunity, mercy is apart of what we do,” Crump said. “However, the legislature has spoken pretty clearly, they want us to put dangerous people in prison and keep them there. Not for any other reason bu then keeping folks like you and folks like me safe.”

Governor Bill Lee has not added his signature to the bill and his office says he does not plan to. The law will still go into effect on July 1st and cost an estimated 25 million dollars by its tenth year in effect.

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