TDOC Extends Sentence Credits

Thursday, March 24, 2011 | 03:58 pm

NASHVILLE - A move to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety in Tennessee will begin in state prisons next month.  A twelve-week course that offers certain offenders, who are already within 24 months of being released, the opportunity to earn 60-day sentence credits will be implemented on April 4.  The move will allow low-risk, mostly non-violent offenders to complete courses in victim impact, job training and conflict management while earning a one-time 60-day sentence reduction credit.

"This is not early release and it is not a program aimed at reducing overcrowding in the prison system.  It is aimed at better preparing offenders to go home," said Commissioner Derrick Schofield.

An offender who is eligible for parole consideration in June 2012, for example, could become eligible for a parole hearing in April 2012 after successful completetion of the program.

Most sex offenses including rape, rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery and most violent offenses including murder offenses, aggravated child abuse, especially aggravated robbery and aggravated arson are not eligible for the program.

A savings of $5.7 million will be achieved by 2,200 offenders successfully completing the program.  According to a study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, completion of programs like this can reduce recidivism by 12.6%.