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VOL. 129 | NO. 212 | Thursday, October 30, 2014

Group Examines Tennessee Sentencing Laws, Recidivism

AP

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A task force formed by Gov. Bill Haslam met Wednesday to examine Tennessee's sentencing structure and look at ways to reduce the state's high recidivism rate.

The group held its second meeting since being formed by Haslam earlier this year.

In June, the Governor's Public Safety Subcabinet announced a partnership with the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice to review sentencing and correction policies and practices. The creation of the task force was the next step in that collaboration.

"What we're really looking at is ways to change our sentencing laws and to tackle our high recidivism rate with the ultimate goal of reducing crime," said Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, who is helping to head up the group.

Tennessee's current sentencing structure has been in place for more than 20 years, and the state's recidivism rate is averaging around 44 to 45 percent. That's the number of people returning to prison within three years of being released.

Gibbons said the rate is way too high.

"The bottom line for us is we want to make Tennessee a safer place in which to live, work and raise families," he said.

The group is scheduled to meet again in January.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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