Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued an executive order to establish the Tennessee Criminal Justice Investment Task Force as promised during his State of the State address on Monday evening.
The sixth executive order issued under his leadership comes after Gov. Lee outlined comprehensive plans to address public safety in Tennessee amid higher rates of violent crime and recidivism. The incarcerated population of Tennessee has grown by 34 percent since 2000, despite six consecutive years of reduced admissions to the criminal justice system.
“There is a high cost to crime in our state and we need to consider who is paying the price for this – victims pay the price, families pay the price and taxpayers pay the price,” said Lee. “Our task force is committed to building smart solutions that make our neighborhoods safer.”
Gov. Lee appointed Senior Advisor to the Governor and former judge, Brandon Gibson of Crockett County, to chair the task force with appointments including crime victims and their families, members of the General Assembly, state agencies, law enforcement, community and faith-based programs, and formerly incarcerated individuals.
Over the next two legislative sessions, the task force will develop legislative and budgetary recommendations regarding the following public safety issues:
• Crime prevention and recidivism reduction,
• Punishing violent crime promptly and effectively,
• Supporting crime victims and their families,
• Addressing mental health and substance abuse among the incarcerated,
• Revising sentencing guidelines and parole/probation standards,
• Addressing the rising fiscal and social costs of incarceration,
• Preparing inmates to re-enter society and find pathways outside of crime through education and technical job training,
• Equipping inmates’ families and communities with tools to help inmates become productive members of society.
In addition to the task force, Gov. Lee has proposed measures to crack down on fentanyl traffickers, increase pay for corrections officers and law enforcement, reduce expungement fees and increase educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals.