Local leaders discuss new ways to curb juvenile crime ahead of ‘blue light’ awareness event

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 8:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Thursday, local leaders discussed ways to make Memphis safer in a Youth Crime Working Session ahead of the Memphis Police Department’s blue light awareness event to stand against juvenile violence.

District Attorney Steve Mulroy and Shelby County Juvenile Judge Tarik Sugarmon said this will be the first of many discussions they plan to have with juvenile justice organizations on how to effectively reduce juvenile crime.

The session was held at The Urban Child Institute, where the two leaders brainstormed many ideas with experts to get a fresh perspective on how to best intervene, prevent as well as punish offending youth.

Mulroy said the ultimate goal is to minimize first-time offenders’ contact with the criminal juvenile justice system so that the system can focus on the small percentage of repeat and dangerous offenders.

However, while any juvenile is incarcerated, Mulroy said the system should work on restorative justice.

They’re asking the state to fund resources and intervention programs like job placement and vocational training, mental health counseling, mentoring programs, and recreational assistance.

They’re also asking the state to make Shelby County a pilot program for blended sentencing as a middle-ground approach.

This will be a case-by-case situation, but it will allow the juvenile court judge to keep offenders in the juvenile system past the age of 19.

Sugarmon said this is something he was pushing for back in 2014.

“Hopefully through that blended sentencing, we can keep youth from entering into the adult prison system at the same time developing reforms and rehabilitation services the justice juvenile court system can offer them,” said Sugarmon.

Sugarmon said it will take a collaborative effort to make the change.

Between Friday, Oct. 7 and Monday, Oct. 10, the Memphis Police Department will be partnering with National Faith and Blue (NFBW) to bathe the city in blue light in its “Stand Against Juvenile Violence” event.

The department is asking the public to join them in using blue porch lights as a way to say “put an end to youth violence.”

The department said it will not be providing light bulbs for this event, and participants must purchase blue lights or color-changing bulbs at their own expense.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.