Unbalanced Youth Justice

The Burns Institute is in pursuit of an equitable and excellent youth justice system. A system used sparingly and appropriately.  We know that our current youth justice system is not equitable, excellent, or used sparingly and appropriately. More than 47,000 youth were incarcerated on any given night in 2015, most (73 percent) for non-violent offenses. The majority (69 percent) of those incarcerated were youth of color.  Learn more »

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One-day count

Data in this section show how many youth are detained, committed, or otherwise sleeping somewhere other than their homes per orders of the court on "any given day" in select years. Data is available for the nation and on a state-by-state basis, and are based upon one-day counts of youth in residential placement facilities conducted in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2015. Learn more »

Show table and download this data

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Year White Black Latino Native American Asian Other All youth of color All youth

Annual decision points

This section includes data at nine key juvenile justice annual decision points. Data are available at the county and state-level, but only for counties that report. This section allows you to view the data from many different angles and all of the data is broken down by race and ethnicity. Learn more »

Year

Data not available for every year. (Why?)

Available years are those for which states have submitted data to OJJDP. States do not submit data on an annual basis.

Case flow diagram

Click on a decision-making point to see the data for that point. Click additional decision-making points to the graph to compare.

  1. Youth population

  • 1Comparison of arrest to population is rate per 1,000 youth. All other annual decision points are rate per 100 youth at the prior decision-making point.
  • 2Due to differences in how states define arrests and referrals to court, some states may have more referrals to court than arrests.
Show table and download this data

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Decision White Black Latino American Indian or Alaskan Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Asian Other All youth of color All youth

8 of 95 counties (Why?)

Originally, states were only required to examine three counties: those with the greatest proportions of minority youth within their juvenile population, as well as those that contained the greatest numbers of minority youth. Only recently has OJJDP required that states track DMC data for all potential DMC reduction sites on a regular basis (at least every 3 years). If a county is not a DMC reduction site, data may not be available.

Detention statute

Juvenile courts may hold delinquents in a secure detention facility if the court believes it is in the best interest of the community or the child. After arrest a youth is often brought to the local juvenile detention facility by law enforcement. Juvenile probation officers or detention workers review the case and decide if the juvenile should be held pending a hearing by a judge.

Jurisdiction ages

  • 0–17
  • Extended Age of Delinquency Jurisdiction: 18, but may be extended until the juvenile pays all restitution.

Standard for detention

(a) A child taken into custody shall not be detained or placed in shelter care prior to the hearing on the petition unless there is probable cause to believe that the child:

(1) Has committed the delinquent or unruly act with which the child is charged; or

(2) Is a neglected, dependent or abused child, and in either case the child's detention or shelter care is required because the child is subject to an immediate threat to the child's health or safety to the extent that delay for a hearing would be likely to result in severe or irreparable harm, or the child may abscond or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court, and in either case, there is no less drastic alternative to removal of the child from the custody of the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian available that would reasonably and adequately protect the child's health or safety or prevent the child's removal from the jurisdiction of the court pending a hearing.

(b) Children alleged to be unruly shall not be detained for more than twenty-four (24) hours, excluding nonjudicial days unless there has been a detention hearing and a judicial determination that there is probable cause to believe the child has violated a valid court order, and in no event shall such a child be detained for more than seventy-two (72) hours exclusive of nonjudicial days prior to an adjudicatory hearing. Nothing herein prohibits the court from ordering the placement of children in shelter care where appropriate, and such placement shall not be considered detention within the meaning of this section.

(c) A child shall not be detained in any secure facility or secure portion of any facility unless:

(1) There is probable cause to believe the child has committed a delinquent offense constituting:

(A) A crime against a person resulting in the serious injury or death of the victim or involving the likelihood of serious injury or death to such victim; or

(B) The unlawful possession of a handgun or carrying of a weapon, as prohibited by title 39, chapter 17, part 13;

(2) There is probable cause to believe the child has committed any other delinquent offense involving the likelihood of serious physical injury or death, or an offense constituting a felony, violation of probation or violation of aftercare, and the child:

(A) Is currently on probation;

(B) Is currently awaiting court action on a previous alleged delinquent offense;

(C) Is alleged to be an escapee or absconder from a juvenile facility, institution or other court-ordered placement; or

(D) Has, within the previous twelve (12) months, willfully failed to appear at any juvenile court hearing, engaged in violent conduct resulting in serious injury to another person or involving the likelihood of serious injury or death, or been adjudicated delinquent by virtue of an offense constituting a felony if committed by an adult;

(3) There is probable cause to believe the child has committed a delinquent offense, and special circumstances in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) indicate the child should be detained; however, in any such case, the judge shall, within twenty-four (24) hours of the actual detention, excluding nonjudicial days, issue a written order on a form prescribed by the Tennessee council of juvenile and family court judges setting forth the specific reasons necessitating such detention. Nothing in this subdivision (c)(3) shall be construed as requiring a hearing or formal finding of fact, except as otherwise required by § 37-1-117;

(4) The child is alleged to be an escapee from a secure juvenile facility or institution;

(5) The child is wanted in another jurisdiction for an offense that, if committed by an adult, would be a felony in that jurisdiction;

(6) There is probable cause to believe the child is an unruly child who has violated a valid court order or who is a runaway from another jurisdiction. Any detention of such a child shall be in compliance with subsection (b);

(7) In addition to any of the conditions listed in subdivisions (c)(1)-(6), there is no less restrictive alternative that will reduce the risk of flight or of serious physical harm to the child or to others, including placement of the child with a parent, guardian, legal custodian or relative; use of any of the alternatives listed in § 37-1-116(g); or the setting of bail; and

(8) For the purposes of this subsection (c), "serious physical injury," includes conduct that would constitute the offenses of aggravated rape, rape and aggravated sexual battery.

Detention hearing timeline

Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-114

Children alleged to be unruly shall not be detained for more than twenty-four (24) hours, excluding nonjudicial days unless there has been a detention hearing and a judicial determination that there is probable cause to believe the child has violated a valid court order, and in no event shall such a child be detained for more than seventy-two (72) hours exclusive of nonjudicial days prior to an adjudicatory hearing.

Contact

Please email Anna Wong with any updates to contact information for your DMC coordinator, JJS coordinator, or DMC subcommittee chair.

DMC coordinator

Craig Hargrow
Commission on Children and Youth
710 James Robertson Parkway, 9th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0800
Phone: 615-741-1154
craig.hargrow@tn.gov
Website

Reform efforts

  • Grant Applications that focus services on minority children receive priority consideration for funding.
  • The Minority Issues Committee of TCCY recommended the development of the DMC Task Force.
  • TCCY employed a DMC Task Force Coordinator.
  • The DMC Task Force developed preliminary recommendations for action.
  • Regional Council meetings have provided data and information about DMC and strategies for addressing it.
  • DMC information has been included in Juvenile Justice workshops and conferences throughout the state.
  • TCCY published two editions of The Advocate focusing on DMC.

JJS coordinator

Pat Wade
Commission on Children and Youth
710 James Robertson Parkway, 9th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0800
Phone: 615-741-2633 ext. 532-1588
pat.wade@tn.gov

DMC subcommittee chair

There is no DMC subcommittee chair at this time

Reform efforts

States that wish to post their most recent three-year plans or share other relevant publications about their reform work should contact Anna Wong. We would be happy to link to relevant documents and information.

State plans

There is no link available at this time for the latest 3 year plan

Tennessee Three-Year Plan 2009–2011, 2009 Budget, and Budget Narrative

State Advisory Group (SAG)

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) is an independent state agency with a primary mission of advocacy for improving the quality of life for Tennessee children and families.

TCCY's Vision. All children in Tennessee have the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential and are safe, healthy, nurtured and educated.

TCCY works with state agencies, juvenile courts, child advocacy groups, interested citizens and other organizations to improve services to children. The commission members, central office staff and regional coordinators are engaged in the following activities:

  • Improving the coordination of services for children;
  • Collecting and disseminating statistical and programmatic information;
  • Informing citizens and organizations of children's issues;
  • Tracking legislation and making recommendations to the Governor and Legislature;
  • Evaluating the delivery of services to children in state custody and their families through the Children's Program Outcome Review Team quality service review process; and
  • Administering the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant and other federal and state grant funds for juvenile justice programs.

SAG chair

Brenda Davis
brenda642@comcast.net
Website

Organizational structure

The policy-making body of TCCY is a 26-member commission whose members are appointed by the governor. At least one member is appointed from each of Tennessee's nine development districts. Five youth advisory members meet the federally mandated composition required for a Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act state advisory group.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth meets four times a year to oversee the efforts of the agency. Meetings are open to the public, and an agenda for the meeting is available in pdf format. Minutes from the most recent meeting are also available.

Appointed by the governor for overlapping three-year terms, the 21 Commission members serve as the policy board for the agency.

At least one Commission member (list) represents each development district, and the commissioners of state departments serving children, or their designees, are ex officio members. The Commission also has youth advisory members as necessary to meet the requirements for serving as the state advisory group under the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Committees

  • Executive Committee
  • Budget and Data
  • Councils Committee
  • Children's Services Committee
  • Juvenile Justice and Minority Issues
  • Legislative
  • Grant Review
  • Audit Committee

Membership

  • Brenda Davis, Chairman
  • Phil Acord
  • Mid-Cumberland Region
  • Upper Cumberland Janell Clark
  • Kelly Drummond
  • Ethan Flynn
  • Lynne Fugate
  • Erica Gilmore, Secretary
  • Joshua Grubb
  • Jennie Harlan
  • Raquel Hatter
  • Marti Herndon
  • Amy Lawrence
  • Carlton Lewis
  • Harold Moses Love, Jr.
  • Rob Mortensen

About the data

Our website is populated by data provided to us by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Continue reading for details about the One-day count and Annual decision points data.

Download

Complete downloads of the data are available in several formats:

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Each table of data is also available for download. Click Show table below any table to download just the data shown.