NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Lee is proposing that Tennessee make changes to its criminal justice system so that incarcerated people can reenter their communities safely.
Money for “corrections” makes up around 6% of the state’s more than $40 billion budget. Part of the budget provides around $4.7 million for additional day reporting centers and programs for community supervision.
It’s meant to make reentering society easier, lowering the risk of being incarcerated for another crime later on. Governor Lee said that the change helps the state not only be tough on crime, but also smart on crime.
Lee also said that Tennessee needs to rethink three parts of the criminal justice system. First, he said the state should rethink who goes to prison, who is diverted from prison and how the state reenters people into society when they leave prison.
He said that proposing changes to the criminal justice system would help make Tennessee’s neighborhoods safer as well and that the changes would help reduce how much money Tennessee spends on incarceration.
“People have to remember 95% of everyone sitting in a jail cell will reenter our communities,” he said. “That’s a fact and about half of those folks will recommit a crime and go back unless we change the way we reenter folks — have them reenter society and have them not reenter prison.”