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Gov. Lee announces his office, TDOC will review drug-free school zone convictions before Sept. 2020

Last year, a law reduced size of drug-free zones
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Posted at 5:48 PM, Dec 02, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee has created a new clemency review process for people convicted of drug crimes in school zones.

Last year, the size of a school zones was reduced from 1,000 feet to 500 feet and judges were given more discretion for sentencing drug crimes in school zones. However, the new rules didn't address people previously convicted.

According to Lee's office, there are currently 335 individuals incarcerated for drug-free school zone offenses committed prior to September 1, 2020.

"You do have people that sold to kids. We want to make sure we're not sweeping this under the rug.. this is a real issue, but for those that didn't have any kids involved they deserve a second chance," said Calvin Bryant.

Calvin Bryant is a criminal justice reform advocate. He served more than a decade in prison for a drug deal at night, involving another adult near his apartment, which happened to be in a school zone. He knows in prison there are others just like him.

"There are people sitting in jail for school zones... and it was in the summertime," Bryant said.

To qualify, individuals can't have sold to a minor or been written up for a drug-related infraction in the past three years. including positive drug screens or dismissal from a treatment program.

"It helps people put faith in the system that after they make a mistake, there's a chance they can get released again," Bryant said.

Individuals who meet the qualifying criteria may apply here.