TN Governor: “We need to do better job” at alternative sentencing

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee says the State of Tennessee “needs to do a better job” at alternative sentencing for substance abuse offenders.

“We have overcrowding in prisons in part because we incarcerate the wrong people for the wrong reasons,” said the governor last week at a Nashville celebration of its substance recovery court system.  “Recovery courts allow (offenders) to recover without being incarcerated or limiting their time of incarceration.”

The governor outlined to the recovery court gathering–which included Nashville prosecutors and judges–what he would like to do.

“I do have a strong belief that we need to take programs like what is happening here and multiply them all over the state,” said Lee.

He added that is why nearly five million dollars in this year’s state budget went for drug recovery courts in areas that don’t have them or are underserved.

After the event before reporters, the governor renewed a long-held promise to make changes in the state’s criminal justice system.

“We need to do a better job of alternatively sentencing folks and allow them to serve a penalty for their crime, but most importantly deal with the underlying causes of their crime, so they won’t repeat those crimes,” added the governor.

How that might be done is likely a part of the governor’s agenda next legislative session.

More might also be learned at the governor’s upcoming state budget hearings in November.

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