Leaders advocate for longer prison sentences for violent crimes | #College. | #Students

A quartet of Memphis and Tennessee leaders promised the public Thursday that a new law mandating people convicted of a slew of violent crimes serve 100% of their sentence will make Tennessee, and Memphis, safer. 

That promise came during a “ceremonial bill signing,” at Memphis City Hall Thursday afternoon. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Lt. Gov Randy McNally, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland each said the bill — which goes by the catchphrase truth-in-sentencing — will offer a deterrent for violent criminals. 

The actual bill, which passed this spring, becomes law on July 1 without the governor’s signature affixed to it. Gov. Bill Lee disagreed with the legislation — part of bipartisan opposition to a policy that is projected to increase prison populations and removes parole as an incentive to rehabilitate inmates.  

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton sign truth-in-sentencing legislation during a ceremony at Memphis City Hall, Thursday, June 23, 2022.

Sexton, R-Crossville, acknowledged, and dismissed, the potential cost of the policy change on Thursday. 

Further coverage:Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland supports GOP push for longer prison sentences. Not every Memphis leader agrees with him

More from Samuel Hardiman:Memphis Police Department is forecasting a revenue drop — from organized crime

“Some people will question the cost of this and some people will question the usefulness of something like this. But when you make comments about that, you’re discounting every single victim that has faced acts like this, what’s the cost to their family, what’s the cost to their loved one, and what is a life worth in our state?” Sexton said. 

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