The Beacon Center believes a just and fair criminal justice system will ensure that every Tennessean has the opportunity to become a productive member of society.

To that end, we will advocate for reforms that enhance public safety, promote rehabilitation and re-entry, and save taxpayers dollars.

Our efforts will focus on the following areas:

Public Safety – Public safety should be the paramount concern of any criminal justice system; however, criminal law should be reserved for conduct that threatens public safety, not wielded to grow government and undermine economic freedom.

Taxpayer Protection – Criminal justice should be efficient and place as small a burden on taxpayers as possible, while maintaining strong protections for public safety. 

Prevention – Policies and evidence-based programs that address the root causes of crime and keep juveniles from entering the criminal justice system in the first place are critical to ensuring a better return on crime reduction dollars for Tennessee taxpayers. 

Workforce Readiness – Most prisoners will return to their communities and therefore, in preparation, they should receive educational opportunities, such as high school equivalent degrees, and also learn specific trades and skill sets. To promote re-entry and prevent recidivism, we should provide educational and workplace readiness opportunities to encourage their full re-integration into society.

Re-Entry Preparation – A central goal should be to convert all released prisoners into taxpayers and productive members of society; to that end, the criminal justice system should emphasize public safety, personal responsibility, workforce readiness, restitution, community service, and treatment—while in prison and during probation and parole.

Transparency & Accountability – As with any government program, the criminal justice system must be transparent and include performance measures that hold it accountable for its results in protecting the public, lowering crime rates, reducing re-offending, collecting victim restitution, and conserving taxpayers’ money.

In advancing these reform components, we can make Tennessee a better place to live and work, by repairing communities and restoring hope to individuals and families across our state, while also protecting the safety of Tennesseans.

Do you have a story to tell about how the criminal justice system has impacted you? Share it by clicking here.