Tennessee

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 is working in Tennessee to reform the state’s draconian drug-free school zone law. We are working to shrink the size of the drug-free zones from 1,000 feet to 500 feet. The legislature meets until mid-April. Below are the bills we are supporting. 

HB 2111 (Rep. Tilman Goins, R – Morristown). 

SB 2062 (Sen. John Stevens, R – Huntingdon). 

Read FAMM’s statement on the introduction of the bills. 

Who HB 2111 and SB 2062 Would Help: People sentenced in Tennessee state courts (not federal offenderes). 

Bill status: HB 2111 and SB 2062 have died in the Tennessee Legislature. On April 23rd, the House Committee on Finance, Ways, and Means voted 13-9 against HB 2111 — effectively killing the push for drug-free school zone reform in 2018. 

Resources: 

These resources explain what the issue in Tennessee is and how it should be addressed. 

FAMM’s Summary of HB 2111/SB 2062.

Highlights from FAMM’s Panel on Drug-Free Zone Reform. 

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 

The Commercial Appeal: Drug-free school zones costly, ineffective

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 

2017: 

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. 

 

How You Can Advocate for Sentencing Reform in Your State

You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.

Encourage your state lawmakers to support mandatory minimum sentencing reform. Be sure to connect with FAMM and other sentencing reformers on Facebook, Twitter, and by signing up for our email list.

Sentencing/Criminal Justice Reform Groups in this State:


April 25, 2018

Push for Drug-Free School Zone Reform Dies in Tennessee House Finance Committee

Contact: Rabiah Burks rburks@famm.org 202-822-6700   Push for Drug-Free School Zone Reform Dies in Tennessee House Finance Committee   NASHVILLE – On Monday, the Tennessee House Committee on Finance, Ways, and Means voted 13-9 against HB 2111. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tilman Goins (R-Morristown), would have reduced the length of the drug-free school zones… Read more »


March 27, 2018

FAMM Hails Introduction of Drug-Free School Zone Reform Legislation in Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rabiah Burks rburks@famm.org 202-822-6700 FAMM Hails Introduction of Drug-Free School Zone Reform Legislation in Tennessee Nashville – FAMM today applauded the introduction of a bill (HB 2111 and SB 2062) that limits the scope of Tennessee’s overly broad drug-free school zones. Tennessee Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) and Rep. Tilman Goins (R-Morristown)… Read more »


February 1, 2018

Tennessee Lawmakers, Advocates, and Residents to Tackle Drug-Free School Zone Reform

Contact: Rabiah Burks rburks@famm.org 202-822-6700   Tennessee Lawmakers, Advocates, and Residents to Tackle Drug-Free School Zone Reform Nashville  – Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law costs the state millions to lock up low-level drug offenders. FAMM is hosting a panel on Feb. 5 in Nashville that brings together advocates, lawmakers, and residents to discuss this law… Read more »


January 26, 2018

FAMM Welcomes New Support for School Zone Reform

Contact: Rabiah Burks rburks@famm.org 202.822.6700 FAMM Welcomes New Support for School Zone Reform WASHINGTON, DC – FAMM President Kevin Ring today welcomed the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) final approval of a resolution endorsing reform of state drug-free school zone laws. FAMM sponsored the resolution and spoke in favor of it at ALEC’s December meeting in… Read more »