Groups Cross Ideological Lines For Criminal Justice Reform

Posted at 9:55 AM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 10:55:51-04

Advocacy and business groups from opposite ends of the political spectrum have been joining forces to press for criminal justice reform in Tennessee.

American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, the Tennessee Association of Goodwills, and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce were among the groups forming the Tennessee Coalition for Sensible Justice.

In a Tuesday news release announcing the new group, ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said reforms were necessary and urgent because the current criminal justice system "is functioning like a revolving door."

Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, said the current system hasn’t been working and has made Tennessee less safe.

The coalition will initially pursue legislation focused on juvenile justice, sentencing reform and recidivism reduction.