Task force examines Tennessee sentencing laws, recidivism

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A task force formed by Gov. Bill Haslam to examine Tennessee’s sentencing structure and look at ways to reduce the state’s high recidivism rate is scheduled to meet Thursday in Nashville.

It will be the group’s fourth meeting since its formation last year as part of the administration’s overall effort to reduce crime and improve public safety.

The panel will develop recommendations to give to the Governor’s Public Safety Subcabinet by June 2015.

The subcabinet has partnered with the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice, which is helping to review sentencing and correction policies and practices in Tennessee.

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.