The Tennessee juvenile justice system has turned into a revolving door, with violent kids allowed to commit crimes over and over, says Nashville police chief Ronal Serpas, according to The Tennessean. Serpas said more than 81 percent of juveniles arrested for robbery in the Nashville area this year had been arrested at least twice before, with some being booked into the Juvenile Detention Center as many as 12 times previously. Yesterday, Department of Children’s Services representatives appeared in a juvenile courtroom to address the case of a 15-year-old with a long criminal history who police say killed someone after he had fled state custody.
“You ain’t getting to them, but you keep letting them get back out to harm kids and families and neighbors in Nashville,” Serpas said of the state department. The department has said it’s made progress with its runaway problem and has pointed out that its mission is to treat and rehabilitate kids, not treat them like adults. Serpas pointed to 114 youths who were arrested on robbery charges this year and who have amassed a total of 1,255 charges, including murder. “I believe in rehabilitation, but these kids don’t look like they can or want to be rehabilitated,” he said.