Press Release from Sen. Doug Henry, D-Nashville, June 3, 2010:
Legislation will increase minimum sentence time for armed robbery to nearly six years
NASHVILLE – The State Senate passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Douglas Henry (D-Nashville) on Thursday to require armed robbers to serve more than twice as long in prison as the current required sentence.
“This legislation is going to keep violent criminals behind bars longer and will make our streets safer for our citizens and their families,” Henry said. “I’m proud that the State Senate took this significant step today to crack down on crime.”
Senate Bill 3431 would increase the minimum served sentence for armed robbers from 30 percent to 70 percent, meaning they would have to serve a minimum of nearly six years in jail. To ensure that limited prison space would be used efficiently, certain non-violent property offenders would be placed in other programs like community corrections.
A judge would still have the discretion to place such an offender in jail for prior convictions or probation violations. Police chiefs and district attorneys support the legislation, because it puts the most violent criminals behind bars longer.
“This bill is tough on crime because it is smart on crime,” Henry said. “We use our prison space wisely by holding the worst criminals, while working to rehabilitate other offenders to ensure they don’t follow the same path.”
The bill will not release any current property offenders already incarcerated, as the legislation will apply only to sentences handed down after July 1. The bill is estimated to save the state $532,400 per year.
The House, led by bill sponsor Rep. Gary Odom (D-Nashville), is expected to pass the updated version of the bill this week.