New initiative aims to keep youth offenders out of the courtroom

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new initiative aims to keep kids across Shelby County out of the court room and on the right path.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said the new program specifically targets youth who are participating in what he called "gateway" crimes. These include activities such as delinquency, truancy and other non-violent offenses.

Before, the youth were either released to their parents or processed through the juvenile court system when involved in these sort of offenses. Luttrell said they are now trying to find that middle ground for these students.

The goal is work with the youth and their families to find alternatives.

Luttrell said similar programs have been successful in cities like Denver and Miami.