BTH: Changing the Mid-South's Juvenile Court System, Part II

Dec 31, 2018

Last October, the U.S Department of Justice ended its six-year oversight of the Shelby County Juvenile Court System.

Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer and Josh Spickler, executive director of Just City, join WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines host Eric Barnes and Daily Memphian reporter Bill Dries to discuss a report released by one of the oversight monitors and what the report could mean for the Shelby County Juvenile Court System. 

The monitor’s report is described as “harsh” and “scathing." 

Sawyer says that the findings could put plans for a new juvenile assessment facility on hold because the Shelby County Juvenile Court system “needs to address the oversight issues." Sawyer explains that the Shelby County Commission cannot enforce rules and regulations on the court, however, the commission still has some power as funders of the system.

Spickler says that federal oversight has been in place since 2012, and explains that the recent “report showed the Court avoided oversight” as past issues remained unfixed. Spickler says, “we got to get this under control.” 

Guests mention a couple of ways to handle the issues within the court. For one, the system could be better organized to provide resources children need to prevent going to jail in the first place.