Governor’s criminal justice task force recommendations to be released Thursday

Tennessee News

FILE – In this April 17, 2019, file photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee takes part in a discussion on state-level criminal justice reform in Nashville, Tenn. Republican Gov. Bill Lee said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 that it is Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s prerogative to request the execution dates and to challenge a court’s decision commuting a death sentence to life in prison. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s been much talk about changing Tennessee’s criminal justice system, but when might words turn into action?

Governor Bill Lee hopes it starts next session with recommendations from his criminal justice task force that are scheduled for release next Thursday.  

“It has a number of initiatives that they are suggesting that we look at,” the governor told reporters Wednesday in Franklin after
a groundbreaking of a new home for women exiting prison.

The governor said the task force recommendations will include alternative sentencing for things like offenders who might need drug treatment instead of prison, along with the best ways for released inmates to re-enter society from prison.

At the event, a Williamson County lawmaker spoke of why change is needed.

“We cannot keep doing what we have been doing in the past thinking we are going to change (by) spending the money for prisons and jails and stuff. we have to intervene and help these folks,” said Rep. Sam Whitson.

The governor added that he has high hopes for the criminal justice task force recommendations.

“I believe those suggestions will turn into legislation that will improve our recidivism rate for one and lower our crime rate at the same time,” said Governor Lee.

Criminal justice reform has often been described as an issue of the potential agreement for legislative Republicans and Democrats.

It remains an issue to watch when the legislature convenes in January.

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