Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced a new plan to increase punishment for certain crimes . One of these proposals is to increase jail time for those convicted of domestic violence.Gov. Haslam based his plan on a recent study that ranked Tennessee fifth in the nation in the rate its women are murdered by men. The plan seeks mandatory minimum sentences of 45 days in jail for a second domestic violence conviction and a minimum 120 days in jail for a third or more conviction.
Society needs to address the domestic violence issue . However mandatory minimum sentencing is not the answer. Most politicians want to be tough on crime and enact tough laws to make them look good to the public. Two things happen when the government enacts mandatory minimum punishment. First , it takes discretion out of the judges hands in sentencing. By that , most judges want to make a difference and try to be creative with sentencing alternatives like domestic violence counseling. Mandatory minimum punishment takes that away from the court. Secondly , mandatory punishment gives the district attorneys took much power to cram down plea bargains to those accused of a crime . Take a deal avoid jail or go to trial and if you lose visit the jail. There is to much potential for abuse in making mandatory minimums the answer to all that’s wrong in the criminal justice system.