The 2014 Eastern District of Tennessee Reentry Summit, Working Together for a Solution, was hosted by William C. Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, at Chattanooga State Community College on Tuesday.
Approximately 80 individuals from the Tennessee State Department of Corrections, state and local law enforcement, and various service provider representatives attended the summit. Presenters included representatives from Middle Tennessee Community Reentry; Tennessee Mental Health Cooperative; the Next Door, Inc.; Familes Free, Inc.; Veteran’s Justice Outreach, Department of Veteran’s Affairs; Franklin County Drug Court; Tennessee Department of Probation and Parole; U.S. Probation; city of Chattanooga; and U.S Attorney’s Office.
At the direction of the attorney general, in early 2013 the Justice Department launched a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in order to identify reforms that would ensure federal laws are enforced more fairly and—in an era of reduced budgets—more efficiently. Specifically, this project identified five goals:
To ensure finite resources are devoted to the most important law enforcement priorities;
To promote fairer enforcement of the laws and alleviate disparate impacts of the criminal justice system;
To ensure just punishments for low-level, nonviolent convictions;
To bolster prevention and reentry efforts to deter crime and reduce recidivism;
To strengthen protections for vulnerable populations.
As part of its review, the Department of Justice studied all phases of the criminal justice system—including reentry—to examine which practices are most successful at deterring crime and protecting the public, and which aren’t. The review also considered demographic disparities that have provoked questions about the fundamental fairness of the criminal justice system.
U.S. Attorney Killian said, “The goal of reentry is reduction of crime and recidivism. Due to the knowledge and expertise of the presenters, representatives attending from the various agencies in the state, local and federal criminal justice systems were able to take away useful information that will help them implement reentry objectives."