Lack of facilities for those accused of juvenile crimes

Overcrowding in jails is cited as a problem in many Tennessee counties. Space is an issue for several areas, regardless of the size of the city or facility. This has become an increasing concern for those who have committed juvenile crimes.

In West Tennessee, several law enforcement officials have stated that many minors do not go to jail. This is due to the fact that numerous counties in the region do not have a juvenile detention center. Rather than drive hours to find the nearest facility, officers occasionally ride around with a teen in their squad cars. Police acknowledge that with nowhere to house the young individuals, they are usually escorted back home to the custody of their parents. Unfortunately, officers in one Tennessee county report that they see the same teens out in the area again after they are released.

While the alleged crimes are often for minor offenses, there are more serious issues in some cases. Police departments report that some juveniles have apparently been involved in assaults, thefts and attempted homicides. Providing appropriate facilities for the minors is essential, yet funding them is a challenge. In addition, more resources are needed to run them than a regular facility since juveniles have educational, counseling and specific sleeping requirements.

In spite of the shortage of facilities in some areas, being charged with juvenile crimes is a serious matter. A Tennessee criminal defense attorney can assist those facing that situation. An experienced lawyer will fight to make sure that a client stays in the juvenile court system if at all possible. Another goal for a defense team is to minimize the negative impact on the juvenile's life.

Source:, "Teen criminals being released due to lack of detention center in Western Tennessee", Zach Crenshaw, Feb. 27, 2018

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