Stephanie WhittExecutive Vice President
Tennessee’s prison population and recidivism rates have exploded. In fact, while the nation’s imprisonment rate fell by 8.4% over the past five years, Tennessee’s felon inmate population grew by 11.7%. Additionally, Gov. Bill Haslam’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism found that “from 2010, 46 percent of people released from prison or jail in Tennessee were incarcerated again within three years.” In most cases, this problem is worse at the local level, where jail recidivism rates and probation revocations remain astronomically high. This does nothing to improve public safety and places huge burdens on taxpayers. Clearly the system isn’t working.
We can start reversing this trend by creating a pilot program to incentivize better outcomes in the corrections system. By tying county sheriff or probation department re-entry programs’ funding to outcomes based on reducing recidivism and probation revocations, we can hope to see better results. The result is a win-win, saving taxpayers money, while also incentivizing probation and sheriff’s departments to help Tennesseans successfully re-enter society.
What the Bill Does
This bill creates a non-recurring $2 million grant pilot program to supplement the re-entry programs of local county sheriffs or probation departments in four counties. In order to receive funding, programs must apply to the Department of Correction stating program objectives, goals, and metrics. Once selected, the program can receive up to 75% of its grant upfront to start or expand a re-entry program. Recipients receive the remaining amount (no less than 25%) only after meeting clearly measurable outcomes aimed at reducing recidivism or probation revocations.
“Advancing Sensible Justice in Tennessee”
Beacon Center of Tennessee