Blue Ribbon Task Force Looks At Juvenile Crime In Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - Kids involved in crimes are getting a lot of attention in Tennessee. Some of it came right from the top Wednesday with what is called a Blue Ribbon task force.

The task force in Nashville is made up of lawmakers, prosecutors, and child advocates. Every aspect of kids and crime is on the table.

“I hope from this we are going to come up with ways to insure public safety and help the families of juveniles as well as juveniles themselves,” says TN House Speaker Beth Harwell.

Every city, every town across Tennessee likely has stories of kids and violent crime, like at an east Nashville community center riddled with bullet last March.

“They got kids in there. Getting that bad now,” said a witness. No one was hurt, but juveniles were blamed.

It’s part of a rising crime rate among kids that prompted a task force set up by House speaker Beth Harwell and Senate leader Mark Norris to look at the juvenile justice system.

What happens to these violent juveniles? Can they be reached before becoming young criminals?

“Some of our laws are antiquated, we certainly need to look more at rehabilitating and turning young lives around. So we are going to look at what the latest research shows,” says Harwell.

Harwell and Norris co-chair the group, which will be sorting through what works in keeping kids from repeating crimes while keeping the public safe. Pew Interest Group researchers told the taskforce that locking up juvenile offenders doesn’t work well in some other states.

Community supervision works better and saves money in other states, say Pew charitable trust researchers, who will help the task force.

“We want to focus our energies early in the process on the data and research,” says Norris.

The juvenile task force plans to meet several more times this year before recommending new legislation for lawmakers in January.

Some of the prosecutors at the task force say their main concern will be cutting recidivism rates, those juveniles who become repeat offenders. 

To see the full power point presentation, CLICK HERE.

 

 


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