• Shelby County commissioners taking steps to create changes in juvenile detention center

    By: Shelby Sansone


    SHELBY CO., Tenn. - The Shelby County Commission took the first step in creating changes in the Juvenile Detention Center.

    They discussed building a new facility with Mayor Lee Harris. Harris said the juvenile center is in worse condition than 201 Poplar or Jail East.

    “We've got 95 kids down there and this problem has festered for a long time,” Harris said. “And that facility does not serve a purpose for rehabilitation.”

    He said he wants to create a space where kids are rehabilitated so the recidivism rate declines.

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    “So that means they've got to have a place where they can visit with their parents, where they've got to have a place with private for medical exams, got to have classrooms, got to have recreational space,” Harris said.

    The mayor also discussed changes to the way the county treats minor and medium offenders.

    Harris wants to keep minor offenders away from the center and put them in youth assessment centers. Middle tier offenders would use reporting centers, so they could continue going to school.

    Higher offenders would still go to the detention center, according to his proposal.

    These are all preliminary plans. 

    The majority of county commissioners were in favor of the building change. County leaders said it would take about a year to break ground on a facility, but many commissioners hope to speed up the process.

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