Shelby County mayor calls for Juvenile Justice and Education Center

Push for Juvenile Justice & Education Center

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris is making the first major push in the new year to improve the Juvenile Justice program.

For years, the program in Shelby County has had major issues.

Harris called for county commissioners to approve a new juvenile justice facility on Twitter Sunday.

"Wednesday Commissioners will consider the first important initiative of '19. We will be asking Commissioners to support a Juvenile Justice & Education Center (JJEC). It is part of our efforts to rehabilitate and offer more services for kids who are detained," said Harris.

Timothy Green is a former teacher and the co-founder of Memphis Restorative Justice Coalition.

He also works directly with area youth.. through his non-profit that he named The Dividend.

"I think that every youth in our community is a dividend. The more money the more resources we put into them, the better that Memphis will be in the future," said Green.

The current Juvenile Justice Center was built in the 30's and officials said it is woefully outdated to help a struggling juvenile justice system.

"We have students that are going into the system but we don't have clear plan of what needs to be done once their in the system," said Green.

Harris also went into more specifics about what the new facility would include.

"If we have any chance at rehabilitation and reminding them that they are kids, we'll need classrooms, recreational space, and services. We owe it to them to try and rehabilitate," said Harris.

Previous proposals have requested more than 50 million dollars for the new facility.

Both Mayor Harris and Tim Green think the money is worth it to make Memphis better.

"We see Memphis growing. But we cannot forget about our youth and our future," said Green.

Harris also tweeted that he hopes the commissioners vote to take the first step toward making a new Juvenile Justice Center a reality Wednesday.

WMC will be present at the commissioners meeting and will keep you updated.

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