Tennessee lawmakers focus on one of Governor Lee's top priorities: criminal justice reform

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Posted at 10:47 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 23:47:58-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's a topic that Governor Lee says is one of his top priorities, and now the findings of a new task force on criminal justice reform may help guide lawmakers ahead of this year's legislative session.

The Tennessee Criminal Justice Investment Task Force published recommendations last month, some of which may be suggested as legislation for this year on Capitol Hill.

One concern they found: punishing former inmates on parole for things like getting fired from work after staying home to wait on a visit from their parole officer. Representative Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) says that can send parolees back to prison.

"In the end, he will actually serve a longer sentence because of that technical violation, than he would have if he would have just turned parole down and said no thank you," remarked Rep. Curcio.

Lawmakers may also begin a complete re-write of the state's criminal code. They say current versions contain complicated sentencing options that aren't clear.