Minorities disproportionately affected by juvenile justice system

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Children who live in Shelby County made a video to change the number of minority youth who end up in the juvenile court system.

“I’ve often said that every child who commits a minor infraction does not need to go to juvenile court,” John Hall, an employee with the Shelby County School District, said.

John Hall is one of the people who put the “Community and Inter-Agency Collaboration in Addressing Disproportionate Minority Contact” summit together.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of kids going to juvenile court, bring attention to the disproportionate number of children of color who is having contact with juvenile court, and keep those kids in school where they need to be,” Hall explained.

Several agencies from across Tennessee, including law enforcement and state leadership, came together to discuss racial disparities.

“What we’re focusing on is mostly the minor infractions such as simple assault, disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, and gambling,” Hall said.

The idea is to develop different ways to discipline.

“We’re hoping to share ideas, come up with new ways for alternative detention, and keep those kids in school,” Hall said.

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