A task force appointed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has called for longer prison sentences for those convicted three or more times of drug trafficking, burglary and domestic violence, The Tennessean reports. Domestic violence would become a felony offense after the third conviction. A truth-in-sentencing rule for all felony convictions would require “a clear minimum period of incarceration.” The panel made its recommendations without allowing members of the public to comment or having held public hearings. Although it reached out to as many as 300 stakeholders, the task force was not as inclusive as it should have been, prison reform advocates contended.
The recommendations included one measure that would send fewer people to prison: increasing the threshold for a felony property crime from $500 to $1,000. Rep. William Lamberth, a member of the task force and chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee, said the recommendations would allow the system to better deal with repeat offenders. “We need to lock up those small percentage of folks that will not abide by the laws and rules of society,” he said.”They live to wreak havoc on all our lives. They like to steal, rape, pillage, murder and hurt other people. That’s what they live for.”