Tennessee’s Children of Incarcerated Parents; 5 Things You Need to Know

Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D) and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R) have introduced legislation (HB 0825/SB 0919) requiring courts to offer individually assessed sentencing for nonviolent offenders with children under the age of 18. The legislation arises out of research finding Tennessee exceeding most states with incarcerated custodial parents.

Here’s 5 things you need to know (as published by the Free Hearts organization):

  1. 1 in 10 children in Tennessee currently have or have had an incarcerated parent. Tennessee ranks above most states for the highest prevalence of children with incarcerated parents, tied with five other states for third place.
  2. Parental incarceration is recognized as an “adverse childhood experience” (ACE). The separation of incarceration causes families immeasurable pain and lasting trauma that negatively impacts the well-being and life outcomes of children of incarcerated parents.
  3. The majority of women in jails and prisons are mothers with children under the age of 18. Most of these are single mothers who are the primary caretakers of their young children.  
  4. Black women are incarcerated at a rate three times that of white women and black children are seven times more likely than their white peers to have an incarcerated parent.
  5. HB 0825/SB 0919 is on the move and needs your support!


Please contact your legislator!

Sen. Steve Dickerson – 615.741.6682

Sen. Jeff Yarbro – 615.741.3291

šRep. Bill Beck – 615.741.3229

šRep. Brenda Gilmore – 615.741.1997

šRep. John Ray Clemmons – 615.741.4410

šRep. Darren Jernigan – 615.741.6959

šRep. Sherry Jones – 615.741.2035

šRep. Harold Love, Jr. – 615.741.3831

šRep. Bo Mitchell – 615.741.4317


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