State bill passes to give offenders who are caregivers alternatives to incarceration

Published: Apr. 23, 2019 at 8:47 AM EDT
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A bill intended to give alternatives to jail time for non-violent offenders who are caregivers for children is now making its way to Governor Lee's desk.

The bill, known as the Primary Caregiver Bill, would give consideration for non-violent offenders who are caregivers for a dependent children to instead have community-based alternatives to incarceration.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) and Leader Karen Camper (D-Memphis) and passed with bi-partisan support.

“One of the most traumatic things that can happen to a child is to be taken away from their mother when she is the person they trust the most,” said Jawharrah Bahar, a formerly incarcerated mother and organizer for Free Hearts, an organization that led the community advocacy efforts for this legislation. “And one of the hardest things for a mother to do is rebuild the bond with their child again after years of separation.”

Bill is title Senate Bill 0985/House Bill 1449.