Tennessee experts spar over prison terms for juveniles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There is wide disagreement in Tennessee on whether the state is violating recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for offenders under 18. That’s because judges and juries have a choice in sentencing, but that choice is between life in prison or life with the possibility of parole after serving 51 years — which one leading advocate calls cruel.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of murder. Last year, the court said the ruling applied to the more than 2,000 inmates already serving such sentences nationwide, and that all but the rare irredeemable juvenile offender should have a chance at parole. The rulings say juveniles are different because of poor judgment based on their age, their susceptibility to negative influences and their greater capacity for change.

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The judicial system must regain the public’s trust

From The Tennessean

Outgoing Metro Councilman Sam Colemans promises to his colleagues Tuesday, the night they selected him to be a judge, are commitments that all judicial and law enforcement institutions must urgently embrace anew. “I will work to restore the integrity of the judiciary” he said. “I will be fair.” There is an expectation that in the courts and police precincts across the nation that justice will be blind, but that historically has not happened, and recent scandals and news events have shaken the public’s faith.Perception becomes reality even if the people leading our institutions have the best of intentions.
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What Nashville should know about restorative justice

From The Tennessean

Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn Funk said Thursday he wants city leaders to promote funding for a restorative justice program in Nashville.Mayor Megan Barry and other officials have already signaled their support for such an initiative, and a pilot program is being developed in Juvenile Court.In an interview, Funk said that funding could bring the pilot closer to fruition. He said a restorative justice program “can create a more fair justice system and better serve the community of Nashville.”Here are the basics of what restorative justice would look like. Expert calls restorative justice ‘more victim-focused than the traditional court system.’
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G.A.N.G. program aims to get Nashville teens on right track

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Dozens of teens filled Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church on their first step in a long rehabilitation process.

They gathered as part of the Gentleman and Not Gangsters, or G.A.N.G, program, which had its orientation Wednesday evening.

“It’s an extensive 12-week program designed to change the mindset of the young men that are in the program,” explained Bishop Marcus Campbell

The program is a joint effort between Mt. Carmel Missionary and and Metro-Nashville’s juvenile system.

The orientation, though, is the first crucial step.

“We like to let them know what to be looking forward to, and what we’re not gonna have for them in the class,” said Campbell.

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Opportunity NOW

Opportunity NOW is a coordinated initiative launched by Mayor Megan Barry to provide young people in Davidson County access to employment. In Nashville, we have seen fewer and fewer teenagers and young adults working during the summers and after-school. At the same time, Nashville employers across various industries are concerned about the lack of “soft” skills among their youngest employees—skills most readily learned through actual work experience.

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Judge Calloway TEDxNashville

Astrophysicists, artists, celebrity chefs and clinical psychologists will be among the speakers at the eighth annual TEDxNashville. The two-day event, which will be held at TPAC Mar. 17-18, celebrates community building and “ideas worth spreading.”Radio personality Bobby Bones and chef/restaurateur Maneet Chauhan lead this year’s diverse lineup of speakers, who will explore the program’s 2017 theme, “Illuminate,” in their short presentations. Great ideas are ignited by a spark and the goal…is to bring that spark to the Nashville stage to illuminate the invisible,” said Chris Moise, president of TEDxNashville.

Other speakers include Tom Eastham, who spent more than 30 years with the United Space Alliance at the Kennedy Space Center,Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway and Dr. James Crowe, the director of Vanderbilt’s Vaccine Center.

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News 2 holds town hall meeting on teens and violence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Thursday night, we’re opening up a difficult discussion about teenagers and violence.

It’s a troubling trend with deadly consequences. You see it in the hallways at schools, in the streets of neighborhoods, and in posts on social media – from carjackings and robberies, to teens killing other teens, even young men turning to a life of gangs.

It’s time to take up the tough questions. Why are we seeing more of this? Who’s responsible? How do we get our teens on the right track?

News 2’s Bob Mueller hosted a live town hall meeting with CrimeTracker Reporter Joseph Pleasant; Lonnell Matthews with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement; Captain Gordon Howey with the Youth Services Division of Metro police; and Judge Sheila Calloway with Davidson County’s Juvenile Court.

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First-of-its-kind program helps gang-affiliated teens break free in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Davidson County Juvenile Court launched a first-of-its kind program to help gang-affiliated teens break free of a life of crime.

It’s called the Gang Resistance Intervention Program, or GRIP, and it includes probation, compliance with school attendance, court-mandated mentoring, and other requirements.

The program was created by the combined efforts of the Davidson County Juvenile Court, Metro police’s gang unit, and support from local clergy.

“We wanted to do something to help the high-risk kids and the gang involvement that was going on within the city,” said Kelly Gray, supervisor of the Davidson County Juvenile court gang unit. “You have got a drug court and all these other courts that are represented. We have the drug court, the recovery court and now the infant court here, but there was nothing to combat this issue that we were having.”

Juvenile Court Magistrate Carlton Lewis oversees the cases in the gang court and GRIP.

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