NASHVILLE (April 3, 2014) – Legislation was approved by the Senate on Wednesday to aid victims of domestic violence and ensure perpetrators serve 100 percent of their sentences day-for-day. Senate Bill 1794, sponsored by Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville), requires that repeat offenders must serve at least the mandatory minimum sentence in jail day-for-day and consecutively. It also prescribes that, if the offender receives less than the maximum sentence for the crime, he or she must spend the difference between the actual time served and the maximum allowable sentence on supervised probation.
“Domestic violence is one of the most serious problems in Tennessee today,” Sen. Massey said. “According to the TBI, in Tennessee domestic violence accounts for more than half of all crimes involving victims and a majority of all female-victim homicides.”
Tennessee is currently ranked sixth in the nation for the number of women killed by men.
In 2012, the General Assembly passed minimum sentencing for repeat domestic assault. However, repeat convicted offenders do not necessarily serve their sentences day-for-day, which means a second-time offender may receive two-for-one credit and spend as little as 15 days behind bars for inflicting bodily injury on a partner or family member. Called the “Survivor Safety Bill,” this legislation goes a step further to require convicted batterers who inflicted bodily injury to serve longer consecutive day-for-day sentences.
“Repeat convicted offenders are sometimes permitted to serve their time on weekends, often returning home to their victims during the week,” Sen. Massey added. “This legislation gives survivors of domestic violence more time to get on a path to safety and healing following a violent assault, while holding their abusive partners accountable. It also sends a message in a state that is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous states for women that Tennessee is making domestic violence awareness and prevention a priority.”