CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A new Tennessee law called Truth in Sentencing requires those who are convicted of violent crimes, to serve their sentence completely without the possibility of parole.
We spoke with lawmakers and advocates on both sides about why they think this bill is or isn't justified.
Those who are convicted of lesser crimes, like aggravated assault, will serve 85 percent of their sentence before being eligible for release.
"There's no such thing as early parole, or early release, you do the time," Kisha Taylor says.
Kisha Taylor is no stranger to the criminal justice system.
"Why should I be able to walk in a grocery store and see the guy who murdered my son, because he only had to do part of his parole. Part of his time," Taylor says.
She lost her son, Antonio Taylor, to gun violence in July 2010.
He was shot in his home while he was with his then 3 month old son.
His murder is still an ongoing investigation.
"I want justice for not just me, but for other families, mothers, kids, grandparents, that's going through the same thing that I'm going through," Taylor says.
Speaker Cameron Sexton is a co-sponsor of the law, says this new law is needed.
"It's important because in the state of Tennessee, we've been treating violent criminals the same as nonviolent criminals, and there's a difference," Speaker Sexton says.
He addresses the concerns people may have about overcrowding in prisons and taxpayers' money to keep them incarcerated.
"Well, you can't have it both ways. Either, you're going to have higher crime on the streets with more crime and more violent crime, or you can put them in jail," Speaker Sexton says.
The Tennessee department of corrections reports the average cost per-day to house an offender, in a state-prison, is 74 dollars and 51 cents.
CEO and founder of BRAVE Effect, Joe Jenkins, runs an organization that helps inmates emerge into society.
He feels that not all criminals that commit violent crimes should face the same punishment as others.
"Are there some violent crimes they should serve out? 100%? I agree with that, too," says Jenkins. "But as we talk about this bill, to be able to go in and take a blanket approach, that is not an answer to the to the problem," Jenkins says.
The law will go into effect on July 1st.
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