Juvenile crime on the rise in the Mid-South - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Juvenile crime on the rise in the Mid-South

Among the almost 7 dozen juveniles currently in the adult jail... 9 are accused of murder.

Two more are waiting for a transfer hearing on murder charges.

That's compared to 11 juveniles charged with murder in all of 2005.

Professor Lisa Settle believes criminals are getting younger because without adult supervision, its often the youngest in the group that's trying hardest to fit in.

Settle says, "So who is the send-out? The youngest...well if you are bad or you are tough go do this."

And if parents have failed their children Settle says the legal system isn't set up to fix the problems that create problem children.

Settle continues, "How society is broken so we need to look at society and look at the breakdown in familial units and realize that families are not the way they used to be and deal with that."

Settle's says the goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate not punish children. But for the increasing number of young people committing more the most serious crimes, that may need to change.

Settle says, "Because you can't rehab someone who's never been taught in the first place we need some habilitation before we can rehabilitate anyone."

Settle says young people need to learn to care about themselves and each other or the problem will only get worse.

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