TRICOR moves to bring job training to those housed in county and city jails — Under a new 2020 law, the Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction (TRICOR) is now authorized to provide job training to individuals incarcerated in Tennessee’s county and city jails. TRICOR is an organization operating within the Tennessee Department of Correction that provides job training to inmates in an effort to make them workforce ready and reduce the state’s recidivism rate. TRICOR may enter into contractual agreements with counties and cities to provide work training programs, including the Private Sector Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program for prisoners incarcerated in county and city jails. This will provide inmates housed in local and privately operated jails additional opportunities for job preparedness to get them on the right track upon their release from prison.
New law cracks down on those who flee arrest – A new law passed this year cracking down on those who flee an arrest. The measure requires an offender evading arrest to pay restitution if he or she recklessly damages government property.
Legislation clarifies organized crime retail law – A new law went into effect July 1 clarifying Tennessee’s organized retail crime statute. The legislation provides that the illegal purchase of merchandise or stored value cards may be made by physical or electronic means under Tennessee statutes to further curtail the crime. The measure seeks to cut off the flow of funds used in the purchase of illegal drugs through retail theft.
The offense of organized retail crime includes an individual that acts in concert with one or more individuals to commit theft of any merchandise with a value greater than $1,000 aggregated over a 90 day period with the intent to fraudulently return the material to a retail merchant. Expert testimony taken in the General Assembly previously revealed that Tennessee was losing over $14 million in sales tax dollars and retailers were losing over $200 million each year related to return fraud. Nationwide, the loss was $12-15 billion, with almost all being related to the illicit drug trade.
General Assembly votes to clarify TN Supreme Court ruling – This year, a new law was approved clarifying release eligibility for first degree murder defendants sentenced to life in prison prior to July 1, 1995 will be treated the same as those who commit the offense after that date. The action follows a Tennessee State Supreme Court ruling in the Cyntoia Brown case which shed light on an ambiguity in state law dealing with life sentences for those convicted of first degree murder between November 1980 and July 1995. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually directed the State Supreme Court to clarify the state’s life sentences as a result of this case.
Legislation imposes minimum fine in domestic assault cases – Legislation to impose a minimum fine of $100 in domestic assault cases passed during the 2020 legislative session. Currently, the law provides that in domestic assault cases a court may order a defendant to pay a maximum fine of $200 if the court determines the defendant possesses the ability to pay a fine. The new law maintains the maximum $200 fine and adds a floor of $100. The goal of this legislation is to ensure this fine is uniform across the state.
New law clarifies and strengthens Safe at Home Program – Legislation has been enacted clarifying the state’s Safe at Home law. The law implemented a program housed in the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office to help victims of domestic abuse, stalking, human trafficking, or any sexual offense by protecting the confidentiality of their address. The legislation provides changes to make the program more efficient. More information about the Safe at Home program can be found at sos.tn.gov/safeathome.