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 Governor 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 (victim age 12 and under)

What relief could be given?

  • Remove residency/employment restrictions  that require 1000 feet from schools, parks, etc.
  • Names kept on private law enforcement registry vs. current public registry (or removed completely)
  • 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.