Tennessee lawmakers look for new ways to reduce juvenile crime

William Lamberth (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Get to troubled kids early and don’t lose them in the criminal system.

They are among the final recommendations released late this week from a juvenile justice task force made up of lawmakers, law enforcement and child advocates.

“There are children who despite our best efforts are not getting the help they need,” says Rep. William Lamberth who was a member of the task force.

The former prosecutor said juvenile offenders are not all treated equally in every corner of the state.

“We definitely have some areas where you have justice by geography,” Lamberth told News 2. “Thus you have some courts and you have some judges who do not have the resources to serve the children in their communities and the families in their communities that are in crisis.”

The juvenile justice task force three main recommendations include:

  • prevent deeper juvenile justice involvement
  • protect public safety by focusing system resources
  • sustain effective practices through oversight and investment

Lamberth cited the need to get to core problems earlier for youth offenders.

“So that that child, that child’s siblings. that entire family can do better and much of that is undiagnosed health issues, drug addiction issues, sometimes generational crime,” added the lawmaker.

He says generational crime where a child follows the father who followed his father into crime.

Lawmakers hope to find a better way for those youngsters.

The estimated cost for these recommendations in the report is $4.5 million dollars in a $37 billion dollar state budget.