Opinion: Flexible Sentencing Would Help in Tennessee

In an editorial, the Tennessean praises Attorney General Eric Holder’s challenge to the nation’s mandatory minimum sentencing policy and sees a need for the same approach to Tennessee’s criminal justice system. According to the publication, the state prison population has risen 4.5 percent in the past 10 years, and county and jail populations have increased 42 percent. In 2012, the state Correction Department went $20 million over budget. In Tennessee, state officials seem to understand the urgency of the problem created by overcrowding and recidivism and have called for alternative sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders as well as more drug courts to offer judicial supervision, treatment services and other incentives.