So the epic battle is setting up between for profit prison lobbyists and the Tennessee Coalition for Sensible Justice made up of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, the Tennessee Association of Goodwills, and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce which represents over 2000 businesses represented.

Tennessee’s incarceration rate is 11 percent higher than the national average as of 2014, costing Tennessee taxpayers over $900 million annually. The state’s high incarceration rate does not appear to correspond with a proportional increase in public safety: Even as Tennessee’s imprisonment rate increased by 256 percent between 1981 and 2013, Tennessee’s violent crime rate remains among the highest in the nation. However, in 33 states that have reduced imprisonment rates, there has been a 13% decline in crime rates.

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Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.