Press Release

FAMM releases statement on unanimous Tennessee Senate vote on retroactive drug-free school zone reform

For Media Inquiries:
Tripp Laino, 202-999-4273

FAMM releases statement on unanimous Tennessee Senate vote on retroactive drug-free school zone reform


NASHVILLE – FAMM policy associate Matthew Charles released the following statement in response to the Tennessee Senate unanimously passing a bill which applies drug-free school zone sentencing changes retroactively.

“This is a great day for the 400 families in Tennessee who were left behind when changes to the school zone laws were enacted in 2020,” Charles said. “Many of them would not have received the same sentence under the current law. This legislative fix creates an opportunity for a judge to give them a fairer sentence that can reunite them with their friends and loved ones. FAMM urges Governor Lee to sign this bill right away so the sentencing review process can begin.”

A companion bill already passed overwhelmingly in the Tennessee House, making the legislative reform ready for the Governor’s signature.

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 DavisWayne 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. The changes are necessary because the previous law did little to address the challenge of keeping drugs out of the hands of children and was overly broad in its reach.

FAMM is happy to facilitate interviews with family members and those affected by this change; please contact Tripp Laino ( for help scheduling interviews.

For more than 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 has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.