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FAMM praises Tennessee legislature passing drug-free school zone reform
NASHVILLE – FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill released the following statement today following the Tennessee House passing a bill to reform drug-free school zone laws. The bill, which passed in the Senate last week, now moves to Gov. Lee’s desk for a final signature.
“These laws not only do little to solve the problem of keeping drugs out of children’s hands, they also have an overly broad reach and have harmed so many Tennessee families,” Gill said. “Drug-free zone laws also add to racial disparities in Tennessee’s criminal justice system. Though this is a great bill for people sentenced in the future, it doesn’t help the 400 Tennesseans in prison right now serving unjust punishments because of these laws — in addition to signing this bill into law, Gov. Lee can and should use his clemency power to right that wrong.”
Since 2018, FAMM advocated drug-free school zone reform in Tennessee. Stories like those of Calvin Bryant (who received a 17-year sentence for a first-time offense), Terrance Davis, Wayne Potee, and Sara Moore illustrate how the school zone law can dramatically increase sentences for drug offenses that are not in close proximity to schools and involve only adults.
If the bill is signed, Tennessee will join Indiana, Kentucky, Utah, and North Dakota, which have already reformed their drug-free school zone laws.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies at the state and federal level and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.