Two of Governor Bill Lee’s criminal justice reform initiatives were passed unanimously by the Tennessee Senate on Wednesday. Once approved by the governor, the bills will expand community-based incarceration alternatives and parole eligibility, respectively.
The sponsors on the legislation were State Senators John Stevens (R-Huntington) for the former bill and Ken Yager (R-Kingston) for the latter. State Representative Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) was the House sponsor for both.
The General Assembly is considering sweeping criminal justice reforms, namely concerning incarceration alternatives and probation. The proposed legislative changes, filed on the same day by State Representative William Lamberth (R-Portland) and State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), are lengthy.
In part, the bill would expand those who qualify for community-based incarceration alternatives addressing substance abuse or mental health rehabilitation. It would also provide new avenues for individuals who break probation to have their probation reinstated (2 years at most), receive incarceration alternatives, or be shielded from extensive sentencing. It also caps probation sentencing to 8 years for felony offenses.