published Friday, August 15th, 2014

Haslam panel to study sentencing, recidivism

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday he has created a 27-member task force on sentencing and recidivism as part of his administration’s overall effort to cut crime and improve public safety.

The move comes three days after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, announced his own panel would be holding hearings on the same issue with an eye toward reform.

Haslam said in a news release his task force is “the next step” in collaboration between his Public Safety Subcabinet and the Vera Institute of Justice to review sentencing and correction policies and practices.

That was announced in June.

“We have put a strong emphasis on addressing some of our state’s toughest safety challenges head on, and the Public Safety Subcabinet is doing great work,” Haslam said in the release. “This task force is a next step in making sure we have a comprehensive approach to public safety in Tennessee.”

The governor named Kelsey to the task force but no members from Southeast Tennessee.

Other members include state Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn; Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney; Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis; Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown; Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol; Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller and Verna Wyatt, executive director of Tennessee Voices for Victims.

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