Why FAMM is working in Tennessee
Tennessee has one of the broadest and harshest drug-free school zone laws in the nation. Under current law, a first-time low-level drug offender can see their prison sentence more than quadruple simply for being within 1,000 feet of a school at the time of the offense. The mandatory sentence enhancement under Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law applies to all offenders within 1,000 feet of a school, park, library, daycare center, or recreational center regardless of the time of day or whether or not a child was present. This law has resulted in hundreds of individuals serving sentences far longer than public safety demands, costing both their families and the public.
2018 Reforms FAMM Supports
In 2018, FAMM will be working in Tennessee to reform the state’s draconian drug-free school zone law. FAMM will be working to reduce the length of the drug-free school zone and to create a safety valve to allow judges the discretion to sentence below the mandatory minimum in certain drug-free school zone cases.
These resources explain what the issue in Tennessee is and how it should be addressed.
Absurd and Unjust: The Case Against Tennessee’s Drug-Free School Zone Reform
The Need For Drug-Free School Zone Reform in Tennessee
Victims call for Tennessee drug-free school zone law reform
National Criminal Justice Reform Organizations Call for Drug-Free School Zone Reform in Tennessee
Reason Magazine: The Myth of the Playground Pusher
The Tennessean: Tennessee’s drug laws punish the whole family
The Tennessean: He got 17 years for selling drugs near school. Now 12 Nashville officials are fighting on his behalf.
Patch: Nashville Case Highlights Drug-Free School Zone Reform Efforts
News Channel 5: Man’s 17-year Sentence Highlights Injustice in School Zone Law
History of sentencing reforms in Tennessee
In November 2017, FAMM, along with a number of leading national criminal justice organizations, sent a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam urging him to support reform of Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law in the 2018 legislative session.
You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.
December 14, 2017
Beloved by friends, family, teachers, and co-workers, Calvin Bryant is now serving 17 years for a first-time offense. His sentence was grossly enhanced by Tennessee’s harsh and unfair drug-free school zone law. In 2009, Calvin Bryant was convicted of selling drugs and sentenced to 17 years in Tennessee state prison. He was a first-time… Read more »
November 16, 2017
Sara was so far into her drug addiction that nothing mattered. Not friends, family, or work. She sold drugs out of her apartment and was arrested, and because she lived in a school zone, her sentence was much greater than it would have been otherwise. She knew she was in a school zone, she… Read more »
November 9, 2017
Contact: Rabiah Burks email@example.com 202.822.6700 National Criminal Justice Reform Organizations Call for Drug-Free School Zone Reform in Tennessee NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law, originally intended to shield children from the illegal distribution and purchasing of drugs, is being unfairly applied in cases where children are not involved or even in the vicinity of the… Read more »
August 3, 2017
Because of the Drug-Free School Zone Act in Tennessee, this low-level drug offender is serving a decade longer than he would have without that enhancement. A distance of 101 feet. For Terrance Davis, that length was the difference between 12 years in prison—with the possibility of parole after serving four years—and the sentence he… Read more »