Madison Co. Juvenile System to Create Evening Reporting Center
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JACKSON, Tenn — Madison County Juvenile Court Services Director, Amy Jones presented an $87,000 grant to form an “Evening Reporting Center” for kids in the system. “The judge orders them to go to school everyday and then report to the ERC for those after school hours, and they will remain there until they are picked up by a parent or guardian at 8:00 pm,” Jones explained to WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News, Monday after the meeting. Organizers said the proposed program will be for 12 to 18-year-olds who are what charged with what they describe as low-level offenses to allow them to be a part of society, but keep them from getting into more trouble. “We want to kind of give them some structure during those hours,” the ERC Coordinator, Estell Staten said. “A lot of times parents don’t get off of work until well after they’re out of school, so those are the times that we see the trend of them getting into trouble.” Staten said they will offer more than just academic help at the center. “We do life skill training. We’ll do tutoring. We’ll have an exercise component, so its going to cover a plethora of situations with juveniles who are most at risk,” Staten explained. Organizers said the Evening Reporting Center will involve around 10 teens at the start, and will be one of a kind here in the state of Tennessee. It could also help with the overcrowding problem at the Madison County Juvenile Detention Center, saving tens of thousands of dollars a month. “If you reduce that number of those type of kids that you hold in the detention center, you have more room to hold your more serious kids who cannot be safely released into the community,” Jones said. Organizers said, if approved by the county commission, the grant would fund two full-time workers, and that the program would depend on volunteers and interns for staffing. Juvenile court officials said while they have been approved for by the state for the grant. The Madison County Commission will still have to vote to accept the funds at next month’s meeting.