Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Criminal Justice Subcommittee to create a committee to learn about best practices and common sense reforms to the money bail system.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up this bill on Tuesday, March 23 at 3 p/m/. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take it up on Wednesday, March 24 at 9 a.m..
(Last updated March 23, 2021. Check current bill status here.)
After someone is arrested, their ability to leave jail should not depend on how much money they have. But that is how cash bail works: if someone can afford to post bail, most of the time, they can leave jail. If they cannot afford to pay, they await trial behind bars. This period of incarceration – even if it ends in acquittal – may have devastating consequences for a defendant and their loved ones.
At any given time, about half of Tennessee’s jail population are pre-trial detainees who have not been convicted of anything. Black and Brown people make up a disproportionate share of this population, and it is taxpayers who must pay millions each year to lock away pre-trial detainees, many of whom have not been charged with a violent offense.
Tennessee gives judges wide latitude to set bail, but publishes little information on how bail is set – and how it impacts defendants – by jurisdiction. Ultimately, we’re fighting for an end to cash bail. The bail system is unfair, and studies show that eliminating cash bail has little impact on courtroom appearance rates. In the meantime, we encourage the state to fully assess the impacts of this system on Tennesseans.
SB 1438/HB 420 would create a bipartisan legislative committee to assess laws, rules, policies, and procedures related to cash bail, and explore the consequences of our approach. An honest look at cash bail in Tennessee will demonstrate the injustices of tying incarceration to one’s financial status, and this committee could serve as a starting point for meaningful bail reform in the future.
Please call or email the following legislators and urge them to vote YES on SB 1438/HB 420.
Senate Judiciary Committee members:
|Sen. Jon Lundberg||District email@example.com|
|Sen. Mike Bell||District firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sen. Todd Gardenhire||District email@example.com|
|Sen. Dawn White||District firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sen. John Stevens||District email@example.com|
|Sen. Kerry Roberts||District firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sen. Sara Kyle||District email@example.com|
|Sen. Paul Rose||District firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sen. Katrina Robinson||District email@example.com|
House Criminal Justice Subcommittee members:
|Rep. Bill Beckfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rep. Michael Curcioemail@example.com|
|Rep. Clay Doggettfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rep. Andrew Farmeremail@example.com|
|Rep. Bruce Griffeyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rep. Dan Howellemail@example.com|
|Rep. G.A. Hardawayfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rep. William Lamberthemail@example.com|
|Rep. Debra Moodyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rep. Lowell Russellemail@example.com|
|Rep. Jerry Sextonfirstname.lastname@example.org|