Program aims to help repeat offenders turn their life around

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Crime Commission is reporting a dramatic drop in gun violence with more than 900 fewer crimes compared to 2017.

Yet, the Commission admits there's still a lot more work to be done before people start seeing a difference.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings issued a strong warning to nine violent offenders during a meeting aimed to get the men on a better path through the Focused Deterrence Program.

"Many of you have violations of that law that not only violate state law, but violate federal law. Many of you would qualify for armed career criminals or career drug offender right now," he said.

District Attorney Amy Weirich says the nine offenders were chosen because they're responsible for a large amount of crime in our community.

In fact, all nine have victimized a total of 90 people. They've been convicted of 97 felony and misdemeanor offenses and have been crime victims themeselves 36 times.

All are on probation or parole and were required to attend Tuesday night's meeting.

The message from law enforcement is simple. You can change your life or do the max time in jail.

Fredrick Graham was in the program back in February 2017 and says it gave him a renewed sense of responsibility and hope.

"I got a home now. It helped me get a job, medical needs, even glasses and dental work. And it made me feel good about myself," he said.

Community based service providers who focus on housing, education, employment and substance abuse treatment were also in attendance.

If all goes well, there will be a reunion to see how the men have improved their lives over the next six months.

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