Haslam Appoints Task Force On Sentencing And Recidivism

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Governor Bill Haslam on Thursday announced the formation of the Governor’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism as part of the administration’s overall effort to reduce crime and improve public safety.

In June, the Governor’s Public Safety Subcabinet announced a partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice to review sentencing and correction policies and practices. The creation of a task force is the next step in that collaboration. 

“We have put a strong emphasis on addressing some of our state’s toughest safety challenges head on, and the Public Safety Subcabinet is doing great work,” Governor Haslam said. “This task force is a next step in making sure we have a comprehensive approach to public safety in Tennessee. I am grateful to the Tennesseans who have agreed to dedicate their time to these issues, and I look forward to their recommendations.”     

Members of the task force include:

·        John Campbell, criminal court judge, Memphis

·        John DeBerry, state representative, Memphis

·        James Dunn, district attorney general, 4th judicial district

·        Tim Fuller, sheriff, Franklin County

·        Bill Gibbons, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

·        Mark Gwyn, director, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

·        Kim Helper, district attorney general, 21st judicial district

·        Torry Johnson, district attorney general (retired), Nashville

·        Brian Kelsey, state senator, Germantown

·        William Lamberth, state representative, Cottontown

·        Linda Leathers, chief executive officer, The Next Door

·        William B. Lee, chief executive officer, Lee Company of Tennessee

·        Jon Lundberg, state representative, Bristol

·        Mark Luttrell, mayor, Shelby County

·        Becky Duncan Massey, state senator, Knoxville

·        Gerald Melton, public defender, 16th judicial district

·        Richard Montgomery, chairman, Tennessee Board of Parole

·        Seth Norman, criminal court judge, Nashville

·        Bill Oldham, sheriff, Shelby County

·        David Rausch, chief of police, Knoxville

·        Derrick Schofield, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Correction

·        John Stevens, state senator, Huntingdon

·        Blair Taylor, president, Memphis Tomorrow

·        D. Kelly Thomas, court of criminal appeals judge, Knoxville

·        Doug Varney, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

·        Amy Weirich, district attorney general, Shelby County

·        Verna Wyatt, executive director, Tennessee Voices for Victims

The sentencing structure in Tennessee has been in place for more than 20 years. An examination will ensure that the structure is in line with the variety and severity of criminal behavior. Establishing an effective set of sentencing laws can resolve inconsistencies and avoid discrepancies that compromise public safety.

The task force will receive assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections. The Vera staff will conduct data and policy analysis; identify expertise and resources to support the work of the task force; facilitate meetings and assist in the development of the task force recommendations.

The Vera Institute of Justice is a national, independent, non-partisan justice policy and research organization based in New York. Vera has decades of experience partnering with state and local governments across the United States to improve justice systems. 

The task force will submit its recommendations to the Governor’s Public Safety Subcabinet by June 2015.

The subcabinet was created by Governor Haslam in 2011 and launched a multi-year public safety action plan in 2012. The group includes commissioners of the departments of Safety and Homeland Security, Correction, Mental Health, Children’s Services, Health and Military, along with the chairman of the Tennessee Board of Parole, and directors of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Office of Criminal Justice Programs, Law Enforcement Training Academy and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.


Red Bank Citizens Urged To Attend Meeting On Flood Risk Maps

A public meeting will be held on Monday, April 13, from 4-7 p.m. with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the DRC building, 1250 Market St. “I can’t convey how important it is for the residents of Red Bank to go,” said City Manager Randall Smith. This will be an opportunity for residents and property owners to review the new preliminary flood risk maps, as well as ... (click for more)

Man Flips Pickup In Cleveland Greenway Creek; Suffers Only Minor Injuries

Authorities said a man flipped his pickup into the Cleveland Greenway creek on Tuesday night, but escaped with only minor injuries. Bradley County EMS responded to a reported single vehicle crash on the greenway in front of Cooke’s Food Store on Keith Street. At 7:20 p.m.. EMS was notified that a vehicle had left the roadway and landed in the creek by the greenway. ... (click for more)

Tennessee Deserves Better Health Reform - And Response

Tennessee needs health care reform. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," was not the best solution for Tennesseans. That is why the vast majority of Tennessee legislators never publicly supported the plan defeated in a special legislative session in February.   It is important to distinguish health care from health insurance. As one physician ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Insult To Israel

I am deeply saddened that over two dozen members of Congress – all Democrats – will be boycotting a speech by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, when he speaks in Washington tonight. I am also offended that the President of the United States will not receive Netanyahu prior to the speech – a customary gesture on such occasions – because he claims it is too close to ... (click for more)

Double Overtime Thriller: Central Boys Going To State

For all the folks who came to Chattanooga State Tuesday night for the Class AA sectional battle between Livingston Academy and Region 3-AA champ Central, they got their money's worth and more. And they even got some free basketball to boot. Needing a couple of overtimes, the Purple Pounders will be heading to Murfreesboro and MTSU's Murphy Center next week for the TSSAA State ... (click for more)

Blackman Blazes A Trail To State By Bashing Bradley, 55-35

(Story will be updated) MUFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Class AAA state champions are still alive and well. Blackman raced past outmanned Bradley Central, 55-35, Tuesday night in a Class AAA sectional victory that blazed a path right to the boys state tournament at nearby Middle Tennessee State University starting on March 11. The Blaze (24-5) will be making their fourth ... (click for more)