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Memphis Mayor, top law enforcement leaders join Tennessee House Speaker in support of 'Truth In Sentencing' law

If passed, legislation would require convicted violent offenders serve 100% of their prison sentence for 14 different types of violent felonies.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Late Thursday afternoon, Shelby County's top law enforcement leaders, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton expressed their unified support for proposed "Truth In Sentencing" state legislation for convicted violent offenders.

Speaker Sexton introduced the bill last month in Nashville - and if passed - would require 100% time served for those sentenced for 14 different types of felonies starting July 1st.

Those felonies include: attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, possessing a firearm or antique firearm during commission or attempt to commit a dangerous felony, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

Mayor Strickland cited a similar 'Truth In Sentencing' law passed in Virginia, which he said led to violent felons spending significiantly more time in prison, fewer repeat offenders and a greater share of prison beds are being used by violent offenders. 

Shelby County District Attorney and Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis also expressed support during the news gathering Thursday afternoon at MPD's Airways Station in South Memphis.

It came just minutes before Gov. Bill Lee also arrived in Memphis to publicly update his crime fighting proposals outlined in a letter Wednesday.

RELATED: Gov. Bill Lee's state budget proposal aims to crack down on Memphis crime

Speaker Sexton told ABC24 Memphis any differences in his and the Governor's criminal justice reform priorities can and will be ironed out.

"We are having good conversations, there's nothing hostile about it," Sexton said. "I don't think he disagrees with violent criminals needing to serve a lot of time, I think he would agree with the Mayor that five years is not long enough for someone who was a bad shot and so I don't it's adversarial as what people think, we will continue to work together, I think we will pass something."

RELATED: TN House passes legislation banning residency requirement for Memphis first responders, clearing key hurdle

If passed in Tennessee, the Truth in Sentencing law would be the first state to require 100% of time served for conviction of most major violent felonies.

That would exceed federal law, which requires inmates to serve 85% of their sentence.

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