East Tennessee families travel to Nashville to push for parole changes



NASHVILLE (WATE) – Some East Tennessee families were in Nashville on Wednesday to call on lawmakers to keep violent criminals behind bars longer.

They are pushing for a “Truth in Sentencing Act” looks specifically at the parole system that in Tennessee allows an offender to be up for parole after serving just 33 percent of his or her sentence.

About 15 people, many of whom are family members of victims of violent crimes, came to Nashville to meet with Deputy Counsel to the Governor Todd Skelton and State Rep. William Lamberth to discuss the act. They hope Tennessee looks at Virginia an example. That state requires offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

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“Virginia, they changed the way people serve parole and also how credits are received for education or good time or other pre-sentence credits – how those are applied to reduce or not the sentence that someone’s serving – so those are the kind of tenants that I think there’s some interest in looking at,” said Skelton.

The families said the meetings went well and both Skelton and Lamberth were receptive to their ideas, but don’t believe anything will change this legislative session. The families, however, are confident they will get what they are looking for soon. They also delivered a petition with 1,800 signatures.