Tough-on-crime legislation: 2019 – 2023


  • In 2019, we passed a law that ensures Class A, B or C felons, which are violent offenders, are required to serve the minimum sentence for their crimes before being eligible for reduction credits for good behavior. (Public Chapter 488, 2019)
  • In 2021, we expanded previous efforts and ensured that violent or sexual offenders serve 100% of the sentence imposed by a judge or jury. (Public Chapter 563, 2021)
    • This law affects offenses such as rape, sexual battery, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual battery by an authority figure, incest, promoting prostitution, aggravated child abuse, domestic assault, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and trafficking for a commercial sex act.
  • In 2022, to provide more accountability for criminals, we expanded truth-in-sentencing to apply to additional violent offenses. The additional offenses required to serve 100% of the sentence are: (Public Chapter 988, 2022)
    • Attempted first degree murder, second degree murder, vehicular homicide, especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, carjacking, and especially aggravated burglary. Sentence reduction credits are not applicable. 
    • Furthermore, another 16 offenses require 100% of the sentence to be served unless the inmate earns a satisfactory program performance. 

Transparency in Sentencing for Victims Act 

  • This law requires all Tennessee courts to place on the record the estimated number of years and months to be served before a criminal is eligible for parole, as well as the reason for the sentence and enhancements. (Public Chapter 952, 2022) 
    • This helps victims and their families be better informed about how much time an offender will serve. 

Increasing accountability for setting bond amounts 

  • This law increases judicial accountability and transparency when setting bond amounts for the most serious criminal cases. (Public Chapter 362, 2023)
  • Only elected judges – criminal, circuit court or general sessions judges – are allowed to set bond in the following
    • Cases involving Class A or Class B felonies
    • Aggravated assault 
    • Aggravated assault against a first responder
    • Felony domestic assault 
  • It also requires anyone out on bail and arrested for another crime to have their new bond set in an amount twice the customary amount.