NASHVILLE — State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) announced today that he is introducing legislation to increase the amount of time served in prison for those convicted of especially aggravated burglary. The proposal would add especially aggravated burglary to the list of crimes that are ineligible for parole to ensure that no less than 85 percent of the sentence is served.

Especially aggravated burglary is the worst and most violent type of burglary in which a home or business invasion results in a serious bodily injury to a victim.

“Keeping people safe in their homes is the most important role of government,” said Sen. Kelsey. “It is time we get serious and require those who commit really violent crimes to serve their full sentences.”

Statistics from the Department of Corrections show that the average offender receives a sentence of 9.8 years for the crime. Offenders, however, only serve half of the sentence on average.

Earlier this year, Governor Bill Haslam’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism on which Kelsey served recommended increasing the penalty for aggravated burglary, but did not discuss especially aggravated burglary.

“These are the worst types of burglaries,” said Sen. Kelsey, noting that burglary rates in Memphis, have been among the nation’s highest. “This is when someone breaks into your home and beats you. The idea that these violent offenders could be eligible for release after a few years for a crime that will affect his or her victims for the rest of their lives is astounding.

Crime data shows that nearly half of those convicted will re-offend and be re-incarcerated within three years of their release. Kelsey’s proposal will keep especially aggravated burglars in prison an extra three years.

“This legislation provides truth in sentencing so that these violent offenders understand they will pay the price for their crime. At the same time, it will save many families the heartache and pain at the hands of offenders who recommit this crime,” Kelsey continued.

Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown. He is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, through which all criminal legislation must pass before consideration by the full Senate.

The General Assembly is set to convene the 2016 legislative session on January 12.


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