Proposed bill would reduce fees for ex-offenders

Proposed bill would reduce fees for ex-offenders

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - State Representative Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) is taking measures to decrease fines and make it easier for convicted criminals to "get their life back on track."

Akbari introduced the bill in the House Criminal Justice Sub-committee on Wednesday.

"Financial means should not determine if a person can get their life back on track, and no one should be judged for the rest of their life based on a decision they made on their worst day,"  Akbari said. "If we can give people an opportunity towards redemption, that's what we want to do. We want to get them back to work, we want to help them build the communities, and we want to decrease in recidivism rates."

If approved, HB0418 will reduce the expunction fee for criminal convictions from $350 to $180 and reallocate the proceeds.

"Currently, the state of Tennessee has the third highest fee in the entire country. It's simply too high for most ex-offenders to afford," said Abkar.

The bill summarizes the fee on the Tennessee General Assembly's website as follows:

1) $50.00 to the TBI for the purpose of defraying the costs incurred from additional expunction petitions filed and granted;
2) $10.00 to the clerk;
3) Five percent of the remainder to the public defenders expunction fund;
4) 45 percent of the remainder to the district attorneys expunction fund; and
5) 50 percent of the remainder to the state general fund.

Akbar filed the legislation for the 110th General Assembly on February 2.

The bill is sponsored in the senate by Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville).

It is part of the legislative agenda for Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis mayor Jim Strickland.

The bill passed the vote in the sub-committee and is now headed to the full Criminal Justice Committee next week.

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