Republican governors Bill Lee and Matt Bevin are scheduled to headline an event to discuss and promote criminal justice reform at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Belmont College of Law.
Former U.S. Attorney General Albert Gonzales and former inmate Matthew Charles are scheduled to moderate the event, according to a press release.
Specifically, Bevin, governor of Kentucky, and Lee, governor of Tennessee are scheduled to discuss state-level criminal justice reform, the press release said.
Charles, meanwhile, will share his perspective as the first man released after the passage of the First Step Act.
According to Vox.com, the First Step Act takes modest steps to reform the criminal justice system and ease very punitive prison sentences at the federal level. It affects only the federal system — which, with about 181,000 imprisoned people, “holds a small but significant fraction of the US jail and prison population of 2.1 million.”
The groups Men of Valor and Right on Crime will host the event, according to a press release.
Right on Crime is a national campaign that supports conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders, and lowering taxpayer costs.
Men of Valor is a prison ministry in Middle Tennessee committed to reconciling men to God, their families, and society. The recidivism rate for Men of Valor participants—with programming both before release and up to a year afterward—is between nine and 15 percent far lower than the state and national average, which hovers around 70 percent of prisoners who are re-arrested within three years.
The event is scheduled to take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Belmont College of Law, Baskin Center Appellate Courtroom at 1901 15th Avenue South in Nashville.
As The Tennessee Star reported this month, the 2019 Tennessee Department of Corrections budget is more than $1 billion. Tennessee’s prisons currently have more than 25,000 incarcerated men and women.
Lee, a Men of Valor board member and mentor, said it costs taxpayers $28,000 a year when an inmate goes back to prison.
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Chris Butler got his master’s degree in communications from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Louisiana Tech University.
Chris worked as a newspaper reporter for seven years and later was an investigative reporter for Tennessee Watchdog from 2010 to 2017. From May 2018 to August 3, 2018 Chris was the Tennessee communications director for the TennValues PAC, which endorsed Bill Lee for governor. Chris has served as the investigative reporter for The Tennessee Star since August 6, 2018.