Life sentences for Tennessee juveniles are essentially death sentences

A documentary filmmaker urges lawmakers to reform sentencing guidelines for violent juvenile offenders.

Some lawyers, a juvenile court judge, state legislators from both major parties, and advocacy groups have been working to reform Tennessee’s juvenile sentencing laws.

This is because Tennessee’s laws concerning violent juvenile offenders are out of step with recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Two bills (SB 2090/HB 2028) proposed in 2016 would have fixed this by making it possible for juveniles serving extraordinarily long sentences to be reviewed for possible early release after serving 15 years. Neither bill passed.

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