New Tennessee State Law Affecting Prison Occupancy

in User Help Last updated Apr 27, 2018

Effective next year, Tennessee will have a new state law requiring mandatory minimum jail and prison time for certain crimes. This new law is aimed at harsher penalties for repeat offenders. In some cases, a third felony or drug conviction will force them to serve a minimum mandatory sentence at least 85% of the time. This new law also recognizes at least three domestic violence charges as a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Prison Capacity Issues

Jails and prisons across the nation are having capacity issues and Tennessee would be one of the first states to apply a new law that will make their prison capacity problems even worse. The state prison is already at 90% capacity. As the number of inmates increases, this will become a pressing issue for the state’s prisons in the very near future.

Bradley County’s Sheriff, Eric Watson is very optimistic that they will be able to handle the capacity problem and he has a solid reason for that optimism. Bradley County plans to open a workhouse in June of 2018. The workhouse will bring in 107 beds. These extra beds will mean that inmates in on minor violations will be able to move out from the main jail.

Prison Work Programs

The workhouse is a program that will provide minor offenders a chance to redeem themselves by working during the day. At night, they will stay at the workhouse’s jail. This will open up space in the state jail for more serious offenders to serve their time.

This State and the Department of Corrections is optimistic that this new law will also reduce overall crime in the long run.  They believe that increased penalties will persuade repeat offenders to think twice before committing crimes.


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