Memphis mayor applauds Tenn. legislators for passing ‘truth in sentencing’ bill

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A controversial piece of legislation soon to be law is getting strong support from Memphis’ top city leader, Mayor Jim Strickland.

“Memphis is tired of the crime,” said Mayor Strickland.

Strickland has been a fan of truth in sentencing and a strong supporter of the bill co-sponsored by House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Lieutenant Gov. Randy McNally.

“Too often, people in Memphis shoot a gun at another person and literally get zero prison time or less than a year,” said Strickland.

The mayor says in 2021, 25% of nearly 300 aggravated assault offenders didn’t serve any jail time. He also says 37% of those offenders were sentenced to one to three years in prison. State law requires them to serve 30% of that sentence.

Tennessee’s soon to be truth in sentencing law requires offenders to serve the full sentence for certain crimes like attempted first-degree murder, burglary and more.

“I want the young person, if they have a gun, to think for a second before they pull that trigger because if there is swift severe punishment, they are more likely to have second thoughts in doing it,” said Strickland.

Strickland has specifically referred to the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph while advocating for truth in sentencing. In 2017, Dolph’s accused killer Justin Johnson served six months in prison on a five-year sentence after shooting and injuring three people.

Strickland says this new legislation strengthens penalties for offenders.

He believes it’ll deter people from committing crimes and protect victims.

“We have to stand up and say we’re not going to put up with this anymore,” said Strickland.

Mayor Strickland also says the city will work to do more to prevent crime like providing opportunities for young people.

Meanwhile, those against this legislation say longer sentences without rehabilitation programs and mental health resources, won’t deter crime.

The new law goes into effect July 1.

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