Restore “child ” to the Juvenile Justice System
Janika is committed to the spirit of the Juvenile Justice System through an intentional focus on restoring the child, not just punishing the behavior. It is important that we keep our neighborhoods safe from violent offenders–whether young or old–but we must also close the revolving door of children in the system and provide them with the resources to redirect their paths. Janika is committed to making the following reforms to the Shelby County Juvenile Justice System.
Find alternatives to trying children as adults, especially for first time offenders and offenses that do not involve physical injury.
Seek alternatives to placement in juvenile detention facilities for first time offenders.
Assign prosecutors to follow juvenile court transfer cases to assure that they do not linger for months before being indicted.
Engage community partners to identify at risk youth and direct them to programs that have been shown to reduce youth involvement in the court. For example; children of incarcerated parents, children affected by gun violence, and children in alternative schools. Identify community programs that provide mentorship, positive conflict resolution skills, anger management , grief counseling, etc. Also, link these children to existing outreach programs like Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouting, etc.
Fully embrace the mission of juvenile court, which is the rehabilitation of children and not punishment. Let this be the guiding force behind all DA decisions regarding children. Make this the culture of the DAs office in juvenile court