Feds end oversight of Shelby County juvenile detention

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Department of Justice announced Friday it is closing its monitoring of the Juvenile Court and detention center in Memphis.

The DOJ entered an agreement with Shelby County in December 2012 after an investigation found the county’s juvenile justice system failed to protect children from self-harm and excessive use of restraints and that African-American children were treated more harshly than others.

The agency said the county had taken steps to correct those problems over the past six years, and had ended several subsections of the agreement last October, citing substantial compliance

Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael said in a statement that he stood by the DOJ’s decision.

“Juvenile Court will move forward, operating with the changes that were made in partnership with the Department of Justice. We will work closely with Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and Sheriff Floyd Bonner to make further improvements and maintain the Court’s reputation as one of the nation’s model juvenile courts.”

Though the DOJ called the conclusion of its monitoring “successful,” Shelby County Commissioners Van Turner and Tami Sawyer disagreed in a news conference.

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