Members of one organization are warning sheriffs throughout Tennessee not to release inmates from their jails unless they notify the inmates’ alleged victims.
That group, Marsy’s Law for Tennessee, warned sheriffs in a press release this week.
“During these unprecedented times, we are grateful for our law enforcement leaders who work every day to keep us safe. We understand many sheriffs are forced to make difficult decisions. We just ask that victims also be considered,” said Bonnie Brezina of Marsy’s Law for Tennessee, in the group’s press release.
“Victims are already dealing with added stress by being isolated from supportive family members and resources. They should not have to deal with the possibility of being contacted or encountered by an accused perpetrator they believed was safely locked up in jail.”
Members of Marsy’s Law for Tennessee referenced State Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) and State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, (R-Signal Mountain) in their press release.
“Notification of inmates’ release is part of the Tennessee Constitution in the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights added in 1998. Currently many victims find those rights to be unenforceable. That’s why Senator John Stevens and Representative Patsy Hazlewood, joined by several other Tennessee legislators, have proposed immediate passage of Marsy’s Law for Tennessee. The non-partisan bill would update the current language to spell out clear, enforceable rights and protections for victims in our state’s most powerful legal document,” according to Marsy’s Law for Tennessee’s press release.
“Across the state and country, news reports indicate sheriffs are planning to or have released non-violent inmates to decrease the population in their jails as the contagious coronavirus potentially threatens the health and safety of both inmates and jail personnel.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall plans to reduce the number of inmates in his custody because of the coronavirus emergency.
As The Star reported last month, Marsy’s Law for Tennessee, if enacted, would provide, among other things, victims with the right to reasonable and timely notice of all criminal public proceeds involving the accused.
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