(NASHVILLE), June 8, 2017 — State Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) has been appointed to Tennessee’s new Juvenile Justice Realignment Task Force that will undertake a comprehensive review of the state’s juvenile justice system. The announcement regarding the formation of the task force, which is comprised of top leaders from all three branches of Tennessee government, was made by Lt. Governor Randy McNally and Speaker Beth Harwell today.
The 19-member group is charged with developing evidence-based policy recommendations that will lead to potential legislative action this year to protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and contain costs, while improving outcomes. It includes Governor Bill Haslam or his representative, several juvenile court judges, public defenders, attorney generals, lawmakers, commissioners of the Department of Children’s Services, Education and the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and other key stakeholders.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this task force which I believe can make a real difference in reforming our juvenile justice system,” said Sen. Overbey, who served last year on the state’s Juvenile Justice Realignment Task Force. “I have every confidence that we can meet these goals and begin to break the cycle of violence that plagues so many juveniles in our system today. We can and should devote our energy and our resources to keeping youth from getting into trouble in the first place. But, to truly meet our goals we must first improve our juvenile justice system.”
Overbey was the sponsor of legislation recommended by the Juvenile Justice Realignment Task Force during the recently-adjourned session. That new law, which becomes effective July 1, implements an innovative truancy intervention program for students in K-12 schools.
Truancy is the most frequent reason given for schools referring juveniles to court. The new law creates a mentorship-type relationship between a designated school representative and child and parent in an opportunity to focus on attendance prior to it becoming a juvenile court issue.
The new Blue Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice is expected to hold monthly meetings with recommendations following by the end of the year, in time for the 2018 regular session of the Tennessee General Assembly.
Please see the press release from the Senate and House Speakers below:
Contact: Doug Kufner (615) 741-1100 ext: 44289
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: June 8, 2017
Speakers create and appoint Blue Ribbon
Task Force on Juvenile Justice
NASHVILLE – Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) this week announced the formation of the Joint Ad Hoc Tennessee Blue Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice. The task force will be co-chaired by Speaker Harwell and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville).
The task force will study, evaluate, analyze, and undertake a comprehensive review of the state’s juvenile justice system, using a data-driven approach. The members are charged with developing evidence-based policy recommendations that will lead to potential legislative action that will protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and contain costs while improving outcomes for youth and families in Tennessee.
“I am pleased to appoint this outstanding group of people to work on such a crucial issue,” said Lieutenant Governor McNally. “I am confident this esteemed task force will make great strides on the issue of juvenile justice reform which will improve rehabilitation of offenders, achieve justice for victims and benefit our society as a whole.”
“I am looking forward to serving on this task force with my colleagues and other stakeholders from around the state,” said Speaker Harwell. “This issue has been one the General Assembly has expressed interest in reforming, and I believe our work can lead to some comprehensive and innovative solutions.”
“We are committed to doing everything we can to get juvenile offenders back on track for success, while holding them accountable for their actions and protecting the public,” said Senate Majority Leader Norris. “This task force is a significant opportunity for us to examine fact- and evidence-based data to reform our system to achieve all of these goals.”
In addition to Speaker Harwell and Leader Norris, members of the task force will include:
• The Honorable Bill Haslam (Governor, State of Tennessee) or his designee
• The Honorable Vicky Snyder (Juvenile Court Judge, Henry County)
• The Honorable Dan Michael (Juvenile Court Judge, Shelby County)
• The Honorable Russell Johnson (District Attorney, 9th Judicial District)
• Deborah Tate (Director, Administrative Office of the Courts)
• Commissioner Bonnie Hommrich or designee (Tennessee Department of Children’s Services) or designee
• Linda O’Neal (Executive Director, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth)
• Stacy Miller (Assistant District Attorney, Davidson County)
• Christina Kleiser (Public Defender, Knox County)
• Captain Gordon Howey (Youth Services Division, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)
• Dr. Altha Stewart (Director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center)
• Commissioner Marie Williams or designee (Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services)
• Commissioner Candice McQueen or designee (Tennessee Department of Education)
• Camille Ratledge (Juvenile Probation Officer, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services)
• Kathy Sinback (Juvenile Court Administrator, Davidson County)
• Senator Brian Kelsey
• Senator Doug Overbey
• Representative Karen Camper
• Representative William Lamberth