Task force recommending six ideas for juvenile justice system reform

Next month, Tennessee lawmakers will consider changing the way juveniles are prosecuted. (Image: MGN)

Next month, Tennessee lawmakers will consider changing the way juveniles are prosecuted. A juvenile justice task force has come up six tentative recommendations that would help rehabilitate juvenile offenders.

We got a copy of the suggestions from State Senator Mark Norris's office. He's the chairman of that task force.

The recommendations call for:

  • Reviewing the structure of the current juvenile justice system.
  • Avoiding jail time for some juvenile offenders by providing treatment for them.
  • Establishing a program that collects juvenile crime numbers to see trends.
  • Creating a special group to review the numbers.
  • Implementing new laws to look at how probation works.
  • Encouraging partnerships between juvenile courts and schools.

State Senator Bo Watson of Bradley County is not on the task force, but he says jail is not often the solution to juvenile crime.

"Does our legal system promote the rehabilitation and treatment of young adults, or does it just promote the incarceration of juveniles?" Watson wondered. "That's the conversation that we're having, structural on one side, and legislative on the other side."

The task force may suggest more recommendations when lawmakers go back to Nashville next month. Many of the Juvenile Justice Reform recommendations come from the Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-profit agency, that calls itself a non-partisan, non-governmental organization, that has studied juvenile crime around the country.

Depend on NewsChannel 9 to keep you posted.

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