Shelby County Commission approves new Juvenile Court plan

At a meeting Monday, a Shelby County Commission Committee approved the Shelby County Juvenile Court's $1.2 million budget request.
Juvenile court has been under heavy scrutiny by the County Commission for months.  After three studies and a microscopic review of the system, the court is well on its way to a whole new layout.
"To help them do that, the County Commission has given them every penny they've asked for," said Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

That includes money for 24 new employees.
"What this will help us do is keep from falling behind on processing delinquency and dependency cases," said Shelby County Juvenile Court CAO Larry Scroggs.

Commissioners are also supporting a new pilot program to give juveniles a second chance, funded by a $100,000 grant for a joint program with seven Memphis City Schools.
"They don't necessarily have to go down to the court and have a criminal record started," Mulroy said. "Sometimes you can resolve it informally with a law enforcement official or school resource officer."
Commissioners hoped the new program would divert some of those cases.

"The caseload per worker is going to decrease dramatically as a result of what we've done, because we've given them the money to hire a lot more case workers," Mulroy said. "And this diversion program, hopefully, should reduce the number of cases, juvenile delinquency cases, that come to them."
Officials will assess the pilot program in year from now to see if it's working.  They haven't chosen which schools to launch the program, which kicks off October 1.

The full commission must vote to officially pass the budget, which is scheduled to happen at their next full meeting.

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