Criminal justice reform is the most important issue facing the General Assembly in 2016. Successful criminal justice reform will keep Tennesseans safe, and keep public spending down.
Accordingly, over the coming months I will be looking to enhance penalties for violent offenders and to consider alternative penalties for non-violent offenders. I believe these are twin objectives because they are both focused on effective criminal penalties.
Over a year ago I was appointed to Gov. Haslem’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism. The recently released final report of the Task Force contains 16 reform proposals. These proposals seek to hold offenders more accountable, reduce the number of repeat offenders, and increase access to reliable state data and information. I will be working to implement these objectives next session.
Last week, I conducted hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss criminal justice reforms under consideration for 2016. It is an honor to be appointed to Lt. Gov. Ramsey to chair the committee tasked with considering such important ideas. I assembled experts from across the country and from within Tennessee to offer their insights and experience on these issues.
My goal is that by April we will have made great strides toward keeping Tennesseans safe in their homes and toward being wise stewards of taxpayer dollars spent on the criminal justice system. Thank you for the privilege to serve as your state senator.