An effective criminal justice system protects people and
preserves public safety while respecting human dignity, restoring victims,
removing barriers to opportunity and ensuring equal justice for all.
In 2020, we’re encouraging lawmakers to tackle four issues:
- Civil asset forfeiture
– As it stands, law enforcement can seize and keep a citizen’s private
property without charging or convicting that citizen of a crime. Lawmakers
should institute new reporting requirements and close loopholes to protect
citizens and restore community relations.
- Expungement for the
legally innocent – A Tennessean found legally innocent should not bear
the burden of a criminal record. Lawmakers must embrace legislation that
streamlines the process for innocent citizens to have criminal charges
expunged from their records.
- Restitution for victims
– Too often, victims of crime in Tennessee do not receive the full
amount of court-ordered restitution to make them whole. Our lawmakers must
establish a framework for courts to follow in distributing restitution
payments in a way that prioritizes the victim, not the courts.
- A new way to approach
pretrial decision making – Thousands of Tennesseans serve time in jail
before their trials have even begun, often because they don’t have the
resources to pay bail. This is an excessively harsh burden on those who
have not been proven guilty, causing many to lose their jobs and become
disconnected from their families. Tennessee should adopt a risk assessment
system to give judges more flexibility when making pretrial decisions.