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TCCY Funds Study of Disparities in Juvenile Justice System

For Immediate Release Contact: Debrah Stafford
June 10, 2002or Linda O'Neal
Phone: (615) 741-2633

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth has awarded a grant to the Office of Business and Economic Research (OBER) at Tennessee State University to study the over-representation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system.

For a number of years, minority youth have been placed in secure detention at a higher rate than other teens. In 1999, although making up only 20 percent of the teen population ages 12 to 17, minority youth made up 68 percent of the youth placed in secure detention and 50 percent of youth transferred to adult court.

Many people hold strong, and often contradictory, opinions about causes. However, no research to identify precipitating factors and identify solutions has been done in Tennessee prior to this project.

The lead researcher on the project is Soumen Ghosh, Ph.D., director of the Office of Business and Economic Research at Tennessee State University. He and his staff will be contacting law enforcement, judicial and social services professionals, education officials and community leaders in Davidson, Blount, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Washington and Shelby counties during the research phase.

Tennessee has also been selected to receive technical assistance from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice to help it continue to meet the requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act regarding this problem.

For more information about these programs, contact Ron King, TCCY, (615) 532-1581 or Ron.King@state.tn.us or Rebecca Rhodes, OBER, at (615) 963-7058 or beckyrhodesok@aol.com.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is an independent agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families.

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