I could see the statute below as an immediate emergency response to those court orders; but the General Assembly has had 20 years or so to build more prison space and repeal this damned emergency measure. Instead we got the 1989 sentencing "reform" act that lets felons out way too soon.
You don't have to be a libertarian to think that protection of the citizenry against crime is second only to national defense at the national level and second to nothing at the state level. Prisons are a more primary function of state government than schools or Tenncare. Not to mention that "extra" earmark money doled out for legislators' pet projects this year. Shameful!
Here's the relevant part of the "safety valve" statute:
41-1-504. Governor's powers to reduce overcrowding. —
(a) Upon declaring that an overcrowding emergency exists, the governor shall invoke one (1) or both of the following powers to reduce overcrowding:
(1) Direct the board, in writing, to reduce the release eligibility dates of all male or female inmates, or both, excluding any inmate convicted by a court of escape, by a percentage sufficient to enable the board to consider immediately and to release on supervised parole enough inmates to reduce the in-house population of appropriate state correctional facilities to ninety percent (90%) of the relevant designated capacity. The department of correction shall be responsible for calculating the new release eligibility date of any felony offender sentenced to confinement for one (1) or more years in the department or a county jail or workhouse;
Contact your state legislator and demand that they face the music and provide funds for more prison space and longer sentences for the offenses that concern you most. If they turn you down, they're cowards, pure and simple, worried more about maybe having to raise taxes or cut less essential spending (which they fear might make them lose the next election) than protecting you from crime.