Tennessee lawmakers want to crack down on crimes inmates commit on citizens

Posted at 6:56 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 15:56:33-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Tennessee lawmakers want to crackdown on crimes inmates commits while they're behind bars.

Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D -- Memphis) is concerned about people who continue to get harassed by someone who is incarcerated. He says some inmates who illegally have cell phones can get on social media. He's seen cases where families of murder victims are mocked and threatened.

His bill would allow judges to give an enhanced sentence if a phone was used to facilitate the crime from jail.

While working on this proposal, Hardaway and TDOC officials found there is a loophole in the law that does not address the mere possession of the cell phones in prison. They couldn't take that into the law itself because of the cost, and that's how they came up with the idea to allow judges to give enhanced penalties.

"The fact is, that if you have access to a telecommunications network or the internet, you're still free. You're still free and still a threat to the community," said Rep. Hardaway.

This bill passed the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and will continue to move through legislation.