Support Tennessee Bills To Reform Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Non Violent Offenders

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Show your support to pass these bills to change the sentencing laws in Tennessee for non violent offenders, especially those with school zone drug charges. The majority of offenders affected by these sentencing laws are non-violent offenders. The schools can be out of session or closed at the time of the offense and the offenders still receive mandatory minimum sentences ranging from 15-25 years. They cannot be eligible for parole until 100% of the mandatory minimum is served. Even if they take the right steps, such as rehabilitation classes and education courses. A lot of the overcrowding in prisons are due to non violent offenders serving a substantial amount of time. The millions of dollars used to fund the prisons and prisoners yearly could be reduced if sentencing laws are changed. Also the funds could go towards rehabilitation and re-entry programs to help offenders become more productive citizens and not fall back into criminal activities. Also the Bills need to be retroactive in order for people sentenced before the bills passed to come home. If/When the Bills pass and they are not retroactive those sentenced before will still have to serve out their lengthy, excessive sentences. Reforming bad laws and making them apply retroactively is a top priority!  Below are the bills and descriptions. Thank you advanced for your support!

Bills to revise the sentencing and release eligibility for those persons convicted of having or selling drugs in school zones goes as follows:

Under present law, it is an offense for a person to manufacture, deliver, or sell a controlled substance or to possess a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell or conspiring to violate such a provision. The classification of punishment for such offense varies from a Class E felony to a Class A felony depending on the schedule and amount of the controlled substance used in the offense. A violation of such offense that occurs on the grounds or facilities of any school or within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool, child care agency, public library, recreational center, or park is punished one classification higher for such violation. In addition to any other penalty imposed, such person is also subject to a fine ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the class of felony. A person convicted of violating the above offense who is within 1,000 feet of a preschool, childcare center, public library, recreational center, or park is not subject to additional incarceration as a result of the offense being within a school zone but is subject to the additional fines.

Under present law, a defendant sentenced for a violation of the drug-free zone provisions is required to serve at least the minimum sentence for the defendant's appropriate range of sentence. Additionally, present law regarding release eligibility status and parole, or the release authority of the governor or board of parole, does not apply to or authorize the release of a defendant sentenced for a violation of drug-free zone provisions prior to service of the defendant's entire minimum sentence.

This bill revises the above provisions to make such a person eligible for release eligibility status after service of 33 percent of the person's sentence. Any sentence reduction credits the person earns and retains will not operate to authorize the release of the person prior to service of 33 percent of the sentence imposed by the court. A person sentenced prior to the law passing, may petition the sentencing court for a reduction of sentence pursuant to this bill.

Bill as introduced, removes requirement that a person convicted of a drug offense in a drug-free school zone must serve the entire minimum sentence imposed before being eligible for release on parole. - Amends TCA Section 39-17-432.

Bill as introduced, changes from 1,000' to 500' the distance away from a school, library, or park a person must sell drugs to qualify for enhanced penalties under the drug free school-zone law. - Amends TCA Section 39-17-432.

Bill as introduced, removes requirement that a person convicted of a drug offense in a drug-free school zone must serve the entire minimum sentence imposed before being eligible for release on parole. - Amends TCA Section 39-17-432.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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