People convicted of felonies may soon have no chance at parole

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Some felons may soon have no chance at parole in Tennessee.

The ‘truth in sentencing’ bill was passed by Tennessee lawmakers last week and is only waiting for Governor Bill Lee’s signature to go into effect, Action News 5 reports. This legislation will require people who commit certain felony crimes to serve 100 percent of their sentence.

According to lawmakers in favor of the bill, eliminating the possibility of parole will prevent people from committing these types of crimes.

Senator Jon Lundberg said in a statement, ”I hope more than anything we send a message that it becomes a deterrent before anyone goes into our prison system.”

If signed into law, the bill will cost the state over $96 million throughout the next 10 years in order to make space and keep inmates in prison longer. The Tennessee Department of Correction said their prisons are already at 92 percent capacity and struggling with staffing issues.

Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro said in a statement, “While it sounds tough on crime, there’s just not evidence that it works.” Yarbro added, “We’ve seen the data and we know that truth in sentencing doesn’t work. But it costs a lot of money.”

Senator Ramesh Akbari noted that the bill fails to reward good behavior or getting a GED while in prison.

“At the end of the day, if you’re not able to work toward something like decreasing your time, it really is proven not to be effective,” Akbari told lawmakers. “Most of the folks who will be incarcerated will re-enter society. We have completely taken away any sort of incentive for them to participate in these programs that will make them a better person.”

Attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder, robbery, and burglary are among the several crimes that would not be eligible for parole if this legislation is signed by Governor Lee.

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