Commissioners like plan to strengthen sentencing - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioners like plan to strengthen sentencing

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Just last week the Memphis City Council passed a resolution urging state lawmakers to put more teeth into sentencing for violent offenders.

Wednesday, a Shelby County Commission committee got on board with the plan, when a resolution to enhance sentencing for violent crimes took hold like wildfire.

A vote for the resolution was unanimous.  Its sponsors, Commissioners Deidre Malone and Mike Carpenter, said it was a no-brainer.

"In Tennessee, unfortunately, we are putting people back on the street after serving only about a third of their sentences who commit violent crimes, and so I think we have to enhance sentencing to protect out citizens," Commissioner Mike Kuhn said.

The resolution sites Tennessee as having some of the weakest sentencing laws in America.  It says Memphis and Shelby County fully support several bills now being considered in the Tennessee legislature that would stiffen sentencing for violent crimes with guns, violent crimes committed by gangs of three or more people, aggravated burglaries and robberies.

 "We know the city council already passed it, and when I was approached about the legislation on the county side, I thought it was important," Malone said.

Commissioners hope tougher laws will make the business owners and citizens of Memphis and Shelby County feel safer.  The same resolution is being considered in several cities across the state.
 
"Tennessee is the second most violent state in the nation in terms of crime rate, so it's not just Memphis as some people think," Carpenter said.

They expect the resolution to pass with ease with the full commission Monday.

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