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.
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.
More from the WKRN
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.
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.