NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Speaker of the House calls them “Truth in Sentencing Bills” where offenders will serve 100% of the time behind bars with no chance of early release. But left off are some cases of rape, which has one lawmaker pushing state leaders to focus on violent criminals rather than sending $500 million to the Titans for a new stadium.
From murders to sex trafficking, lawmakers are positioning to pass mandatory minimums for some violent crimes.
“Rape’s a very hideous crime and we take it very seriously in the General Assembly,” said Rep. Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin).
But stiffer penalties for rape will have to wait.
“House Bill 1640, what it did was actually remove the probation eligibility for rapists, it’s a class ‘B’ felony. There’s not a whole lot of counties in the state, but there are about a half dozen counties where judges, instead of the perpetrators serving the minimum 8-year mandatory sentence, they’ve actually given them probation, they’ve actually not served any time at all,” Ogles said.
Representative Ogles is not seeking re-election and questioned the General Assembly’s priorities.
Writing on Facebook, “Apparently building a new football stadium is a priority but keeping rapists in jail is not.”
Leadership chose not to finance the bill which Ogles said would cost $56,000 per inmate.
“We have a lot of issues in society we really need to address, it’s heartbreaking, as we love the Titans and we love our sporting teams,” he said.
Ogles says much of the money should go toward supporting people. “I would love to see a lot of that money spent towards community aid, giving these people a place to live, support where we can, drug interdiction programs.”
Olges adds his bill is designed to protect victims and communities.
“It’s very important that the ones that we do catch that are found guilty of that crime that we put them away for as long as possible where they don’t reintroduce into society and repeat the criminal activity.”
The bill was ultimately pulled, but it’s not completely dead. Olges says House GOP Leader William Lamberth will bring back the bill for consideration next session.