New ‘blue ribbon task force’ on juvenile justice system set up by speakers (Haslam gets a seat)

News release from House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office

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

4 Responses to New ‘blue ribbon task force’ on juvenile justice system set up by speakers (Haslam gets a seat)

  • Diana Page says:

    Very good move. Looking forward to a positive outcome for TN. Will the public be able to observe?

    • Tom Humphrey
      Tom Humphrey says:

      Believe this body would be covered by Tennessee’s Open Meetings law, ergo open to public… unless they decide to get into some matter that’s covered in the multitude of exceptions to that law.

  • Norris Teachworth says:

    This seems like a positive step in the right direction. Will they be trying to reevaluate the imposition of life sentences for juveniles? Cyntoia Brown is an example of a juvenile who was and is a victim of a miscarriage of justice. Will they be looking into the lack of supervision and rehabilitation for juveniles which caused the events at Woodland Hills a few years ago.

  • Rahim Buford says:

    This is a good start, but where are the individuals who have actually experienced confinement, formerly incarcerated juvenile and adults?

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