Unlikely Coalition Tackles Criminal Justice Reform in Tennessee
An unlikely coalition of Nashville businesses, social service and advocacy groups is launching an effort to reform criminal justice in Tennessee, where the incarceration rate is 11 percent higher than the national average.
Through the newly formed Tennessee Coalition for Sensible Justice, backers plan to pursue legislation initially focused on juvenile justice, lowering the rates of people returning to prison and changing sentencing guidelines for those convicted of crimes.
The coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Tennessee Association of Goodwills, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Beacon Center of Tennessee, which advocates for smaller government.
“It’s not about being tough or soft on crime, it’s about being effective on crime,” said Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee. “We are spending entirely too much taxpayer money on a system that is not working and actually making Tennessee less safe.”