A pilot program in one county in Tennessee is targeting juvenile crime by working with offenders at a very young age. The program, which is funded by a grant from the state totaling $400,000, is currently addressing issues for children up to age 13.
The program used grant funds to establish a team of 12 people. The individuals take time to investigate each case of young juvenile crime. The investigation includes spending time at the child's home and school. During the investigation, the team tries to pinpoint reasons the child might have ended up in legal trouble.
The team uses the information they find to create a report with suggestions for law enforcement, corrections facilities and the child's caregivers. The intent of the report is to help parents and others keep children from future trouble, which the county hopes will reduce the chance of juvenile legal problems escalating into larger problems later in life.
The program is also addressing the way children who are convicted of juvenile crimes are reformed. According to reports, the program changes things within facilities, including both how children dress and work while they are in the custody of the county.
This is still pilot program, but supporters are hoping that it is successful enough to be rolled out in other locations. Even though the program is looking to make something positive out of juvenile sentences, not being convicted of the crime in the first place is usually the goal a family has for any child facing charges. A strong defense and planning is the best way to avoid criminal charges when possible.
Source: Public News Service, "Tennessee County Takes New Approach to Juvenile Justice," June 18, 2015