Many young, first-time sex offenders are not pedophiles or predators.   

We ask for legislation which provides an opportunity for re-evaluation, on a case-by-case basis, 

as part of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s strategy to improve the criminal justice system .

We do not diminish in any way the seriousness of the offense nor the suffering of the victim.

Why is this important?
  • Some foolish, young teenagers are burdened with lifetime punishment after incarceration
  • Some have gone on to live stable, productive lives  
  • Some are married after their incarceration, with families of their own who are now being deeply affected

Unintended innocent victims (the spouses and children of one who offended as a teen):

  • They are subject to embarrassment and rejection at school, in their neighborhoods, etc.
  • The families face difficult residential restrictions.
  • The offender has a more difficult time providing for child(ren) and spouse due to restrictions on employment.
  • Limitations make it difficult to support  child(ren) at school events, sporting events, libraries, recitals, etc.
  • There is no “putting the past behind” the family . . . ever.
Who are we talking about
  • The offender must have been age 19 or under at the time of their offense
  • Conviction must have been for a single incident with a single victim
  • There must be no sexual offenses for 10 years after incarceration
  • Re-evaluation to be based on likelihood of re-offending, not the conviction alone
  • Victim cannot have been a family member
  • No use of,  or threat to use, a deadly weapon
  • Conviction cannot be for rape of a child, attempted or aggravated rape of a child.

What relief could be given?

  • Remove residency/employment restrictions  that require 1000 feet from schools, parks, etc.
  • a) Names kept on private law enforcement registry vs. current public registry,  or b) subject to registry rules at the time of offense, not those rules that have continued to be added since date of offense,  or c) removed completely from registry.  
  • May be with their own children in any setting without prior consent (schools, parks, etc.)
  • Marriage can include living with step children
  • Can be an active participant themselves in sports at parks, rec centers, etc.

Wiser use of Tennessee tax dollars: 

Justice funds for sex offenders can be better used to address the more oft-repeated crimes of

  • true pedophiles
  • true predators 
  • human traffickers

How could this “re-evaluation” be done?

Return to the sentencing court judge.  Why?  see example:  Mandatory minimum sentencing laws often leave judges with little discretion at sentencing.

Or, the Governor can commute one’s sentence to a lower charge, without the current lifetime restrictions.