2 Should Jail Be Required For Repeat Domestic Violence Offenders?


Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is seeking mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat domestic violence offenders. Experts worry that mandatory jail time without treatment isn't enough, reports The Tennessean. “In many other states, batterers programs are mandated for varying lengths at least for the first offense,” said Ed Gondolf, retired research director for the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute and sociology professor emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania “Putting people in jail, in and of itself, is not a cure-all. It sounds like it's a simplistic answer to a harder problem and one that appeals to the public — the law and order toughness — but isn't necessarily practical in the long run.”

State officials counter that it is an important step toward making repeat offenders accountable for actions that sometimes don't earn any significant punishment. “This bill focuses on repeat offenders who have not changed their behavior despite previous interventions, including arrest, counseling, probation and court injunctions,” said Bill Gibbons, head of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “Battering is a crime. We believe the best way to deter future violence is to increase perpetrator accountability.” One victim, Ashlee McGrann said that, based on her experiences, the state should require both.

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