The Tennessee Alliance for the Severe Mental Illness Exclusion (TASMIE) is a coalition of mental health advocates and other organizations that are educating Tennesseans about their concerns with sentencing those who have a severe mental illness to death.
- Seventy-five percent of the defendants who have a mental disability (including SMI) and who were wrongly convicted confessed to a crime they did not commit.
- Capital cases that involve a defendant with SMI can be excessively protracted, prolonging pain for the surviving families.
- The law does not apply to whether someone is guilty or not guilty, only to whether he or she is eligible for the death penalty.
- The money saved from the exclusion of defendants with SMI from the death penalty could be used to solve cases, to staff prisons and police forces, and to create mental health and addiction programs that focus on prevention.
What is the Alternative? TASMIE supports excluding people with SMI from the death penalty. This exclusion should be determined on a case-by-case basis and will affect only those with the most severe mental illnesses. These individuals would still be eligible for other sentences, including life without parole.