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Tennessee lawmakers seek to prohibit early release for 14 violent crimes

Legislation to eliminate the possibility of parole for individuals convicted of certain violent crimes advanced out of the Tennessee Criminal Justice Subcommittee last week.

House Bill 2656 requires offenders to serve 100 percent of the sentences handed down by a judge or jury for an additional 14 violent offenses. Those crimes include aggravated assault resulting in death, attempted first-degree murder with serious bodily injury, second-degree murder, aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect or endangerment, carjacking, and possessing or employing a firearm during a dangerous felony among other types of violent crimes.

“During my 36-year career in law enforcement, I saw first-hand the pain these senseless crimes caused victims and their families,” said State Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, who is a retired police lieutenant. “This bill sends a strong message that we will not tolerate these violent offenses in our state by ensuring those who commit them serve their full sentence.”

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House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, partnered with Hulsey to serve as the co-prime sponsor of the bill as it travels through the committee process. It now moves to the House Criminal Justice Committee for additional discussion and debate.

“(This) will ensure violent criminals serve their entire sentence after a guilty verdict, not just a portion,” Speaker Sexton said about the legislation.

Last year, state lawmakers approved truth in sentencing reform for 31 crimes historically targeting women and children.

More information about House Bill 2656 can be found here.

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