Shelby County, Juvenile Court hire top juvenile justice statistician to find possible problem areas

Shelby County, Juvenile Court hire top juvenile justice statistician to find possible problem areas

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris have hired the nation’s leading juvenile justice statistician to help find potential problem areas of inequality and disproportionate minority contact within Juvenile Court.

This comes after Shelby County hired a nationally-known consultant to continue focusing on juvenile justice reform in 2018.

Dr. Melissa Sickmund, director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice, focuses her work on gathering juvenile justice statistical information and using that date to support improvement of juvenile justice systems on local and national levels.

Judge Michael expects that Dr. Sickmund will review and analyze statistical information concerning any potential disproportionate minority contact involving juveniles who have contact with Juvenile Court, whether through a summons issued by law enforcement or an arrest by law enforcement.

Her data will give Juvenile Court and Shelby County government a chance to respond to real data concerning disproportionate minority contact rather than generalized assumptions.

Dr. Sickmund will work under a six-month contract with Shelby County with an option by either party to renew the contract for another year.

Earlier this year, Shelby County Commissioners gave initial approval for $1.3 million in architecture and engineering work for Mayor Harris' newly proposed juvenile justice facility.

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