Blackburn, Cramer Introduce Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act Amid Historic Rise in Violent Crime

March 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act to deter policies that prohibit bail and reward criminal acts.

The Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act would prevent any state or local government from receiving federal funds if they have a policy that prohibits the use of cash bail for all offenders or fail to implement pretrial detention practices for all violent offenders, including juveniles.

“The rise in violent crime we are seeing across our country is a direct result of the soft-on-crime policies like cashless bail that is being pushed by woke prosecutors and judges. In order to restore law and order in our communities, we must reject this agenda that prioritizes dangerous criminals over law-abiding community members. My Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act creates incentives for state and local governments to keep violent offenders behind bars,” said Senator Blackburn. 

“Cash bail is a powerful tool to help keep violent offenders off the streets in advance of criminal proceedings. Woke, soft-on-crime cities across the country make it easier for felons to reoffend while awaiting prosecution, causing more violence and instability in our communities. The harmful and deliberate policies these cities adopt, contributing to soaring crime rates, should not be rewarded by sending them taxpayer money,” said Senator Cramer. 


“One of the most detrimental trends to come out of the anti-criminal justice movement is that of “bail reform.” This incentivizes criminals and denies protection to crime victims at a time when most law enforcement organizations are dealing with budget and personnel shortfalls. The National Police Association believes that the Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act will help hold prosecutors accountable and encourage them to reenact bail policies that benefit law abiding community members instead of the criminals who prey on them,” said Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, Spokesman for the National Police Association (NPA).

“I am proud to support Senator Blackburn’s mission to keep criminals off our streets and work to reverse the disastrous policies of the Biden Administration’s complete and total failure to keep Americans safe,” said Kash Patel, former federal prosecutor and senior Department of Defense official under the Trump administration.

“It is critical that we keep violent criminals off our streets, and I commend Sen. Blackburn for fighting back against soft-on-crime policies to keep Tennesseans safe. This legislation will support law enforcement agencies and help prevent violent criminals from re-entering our communities,” said Sheriff John Fuson, Montgomery County.

“I applaud Senator Blackburn for introducing this commonsense legislation. We must keep violent offenders where they belong, and not back on the streets where they can create further hurt. Victims of these crimes deserve to feel safe in their communities, and it is imperative that we stop the revolving door for these perpetrators,” said Sheriff Keith Sexton, Washington County.

“We need legislation in place to ensure that violent offenders answer for their crimes. Without the provisions in the Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act, we are relying on criminals to follow procedures and laws. I fully support this legislation, and hope to see it passed,” said Sheriff James Harville, Grainger County.

“Senator Blackburn’s legislation will lead us to a safer future by ensuring policies are in place that help law enforcement keep violent criminals off our streets. Existing policies allow lawbreakers to enter back into our communities and cause more harm. I applaud her leadership on this issue, and hope to see this legislation passed,” said Sheriff Russell Barker, Anderson County.

“Allowing criminals to freely roam our communities puts our citizens in danger. Across the country, we have seen violent criminals out on bail continue to commit crimes and pose a danger to public safety. I fully support the Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act,” said Sheriff Wesley Holt, Greene County.

“Bail reforms create dangerous cycles within our communities. Senator Blackburn’s legislation will limit violent criminals’ opportunity to cause further harm by providing an incentive to keep them behind bars. I fully support the Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act,” said Sheriff James Berrong, Blount County.

“Our officers work hard to put violent criminals behind bars and when they are released under weak policies our communities suffer. The safety of Tennesseans is our number one priority, and I am confident that the Keep Violent Criminals Off Our Streets Act will provide policies that work with us, not against us. I am proud to endorse this legislation alongside with law enforcement officials across the state,” said Chief Donald Bandy, Gallatin, TN.


  • Over the last few years, cities throughout our country have faced a historic rise in violent crime.
  • Last year, Memphis, Tennessee saw record-breaking numbers in crime including homicides, smash-and-grab robberies, and shootings.
  • Several states have already eased cash bail requirements, and last year Illinois prohibited the use of cash bail altogether.
  • In Tennessee, the Shelby County District Attorney campaigned on “avoid[ing] cash bail.”
  • And far-left Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón instituted an order prohibiting prosecutors from seeking cash bail for certain criminal defendants, only reversing course after he was faced with a recall election. 
  • In Memphis, a gunman—while out on bail for carjacking and employing a firearm with intent to commit a dangerous felony—shot and killed a man during an attempted carjacking.
  • In Memphis, a suspect already out on bail went on a deadly crime spree and murdered a teen while shooting several others.
  • Many of our nation’s largest cities have implemented bail policies that incentivize and reward criminal acts.

Click here for bill text.