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FAMM praises Tennessee Senate passing drug-free school zone reform
Senate has taken the important first step of mitigating the devastating burden of Tennessee’s drug-free school zone laws
NASHVILLE – FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill released the following statement today following the Tennessee Senate’s passage of a bill to reform drug-free school zone laws (SB 2734). The bill now moves to the House, where a similar bill (HB 2517) has been advancing through the committee review process. FAMM urges the House to pass this reform and bring needed change to Tennessee.
“Drug-free school zone laws are a perfect example of ideas that sound great on paper, but fail spectacularly in execution,” Gill said. “While this law was created to keep drugs out of the hands of children, its overly broad reach has led to lengthy sentences for people the law was never intended to apply to — like Calvin Bryant, who received a 17-year sentence for a first-time drug offense at his home, not near a school and children.”
Since 2018, FAMM advocated for drug-free school zone reform in Tennessee. Stories like those of Calvin Bryant, 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 passed, 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 in six states 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.