Juvenile assessment center could cut down on young re-offenders

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new plan could help cut down on juvenile crime in Shelby County.

Forty percent of young people who go through the juvenile system end up being re-offenders, but there is a plan in place to reverse those numbers and make Memphis safer.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings has witnessed young people living a life of crime.

"Some of these kids have some serious challenges," Rallings said. "I think we have to recognize that and come up with ways to help them get on the right path and become positive adults."

Rallings, along with other community members, gathered at University of Memphis on Tuesday to talk about how a juvenile assessment center could help.

"My concern is that juveniles get the assessment and get connected to the resources they need so we can get them turned around," Rallings explained.

When it comes fully operational, the center would serve an estimated 6,000 young people. It would also speed up juvenile assessments and reduce time officers spend dealing with kids. The goal is for the young people connected to these resources to become more productive citizens.

"Trying to come up with an approach to address whatever those challenges or problems might be, so that there's no second encounter with law enforcement," Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission President Bill Gibbons said.

The juvenile assessment center could be open by 2019, however, it is unclear how much this center could cost.

"It takes a community, all of us working together to make Memphis a better place," Rallings added.

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