More courtrooms needed at Juvenile Justice Center

Posted at 4:52 PM, Apr 09, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Crimes committed by kids cause pain in Nashville's community everyday. Metro's Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway believes some victims could see justice sooner if they had more courtrooms.

A pregnant woman is one of the most recent victims of juvenile crime when she was carjacked by teens.

"I just got robbed by like 5 teenagers they walked over to my car and asked me for my phone so I pulled over to let them use my phone, and two of them pulled guns on me, and told me to get out of the car, and took my car, I'm 5 months pregnant," the caller said.

It could be months before that carjacking victim sees justice. The juvenile court judge said they need more courtrooms to handle those kinds of cases.

Judge Sheila Calloway said, "There's not necessarily a backlog of cases, we do have a lot of people that come through, and we do have a lot of cases. In general, we had about 180,000 people that came through our building last year."

According to Calloway, there's currently eight Magistrates and one part-time Magistrate.

"We make a conference room into a courtroom for her when she's here 1 day a week."

The Juvenile Justice Center building was meant to accommodate 1 judge, and 3 Magistrates, when it was built.

A couple years ago, juvenile advocates asked the city for millions to build a new facility, but there was budget trouble, so they made do with what they had.

"For example Magistrate Rigsby is in a courtroom that was a closet space, they were able to redesign and built it out, and make it into a courtroom," said Calloway.

As juvenile crime continues making headlines, Judge Calloway said they're demanding help.

Calloway said, "I think it's something that we have to prioritize so we can give our children, and their families, the best service that they can have."

To learn more about Judge Calloway's vision for a new detention center and 24-hour assessment facility go here.