Judge of Tennessee Donna Scott Davenport faces further criticism after discovering she illegally sentenced children to prison terms by creating bogus laws that don’t exist in Tennessee.
According to WREG and ProPublica, Judge Davenport, a Rutherford County juvenile judge, instituted a policy in 2016 that all children accused of crimes should be treated in the local detention center. The policy gained attention when, later that year, 11 black schoolchildren were arrested after witnessing a fight between a 5 and 6-year-old.
The children were detained for “criminal responsibility for the conduct of others”, a falsified and invented law.
Now state politicians are speaking out, expressing their anger at what they see as another school-to-prison pipeline affecting black children and demanding answers.
“There has to be something for everyone who has been involved in this,” the representative said. Gloria johnson (D) told WREG. “From what I understand, they created a law that wasn’t even on the books to make this happen. “
As part of Davenport’s screening system, police would take children they arrested directly to jail, where staff decided whether or not to hold them until their detention hearing, which could take days. This means that kids who did something as minor as skipping school could spend a week in jail.
Davenport’s screening system also allowed the detention center to jail children it considered unruly, defined as “a REAL threat.” However, there is no definition of what a TRUE threat means.
That same year, state lawmakers called for a federal inquiry into Rutherford County and the arrest of the 11 children. representing John ray clemmons (D), one of the lawmakers who called for the investigation, released a statement this week, calling the situation unchecked barbarism.
“As I stated in 2016, there is no rational justification for all of this in our society. The state and county have clearly let down children and families, mostly black people, in this way and countless others, “Clemmons wrote according to WKRN.” This has especially been true throughout American history in our legal and penal system, and it is high time to reassess the structural framework that allows such cases to occur. inequity and injustice. Those of us in whom the public has placed their trust have a duty to correct the legal and administrative problems on many levels facilitating this type of uncontrolled barbarism. “
Rutherford County has thrown money at the situation to sweep it under the rug and the state’s top lawmakers are also keeping a low profile.
In 2017, the county agreed to a settlement, paying the 11 children $ 397,500, and the officer who signed the charges was suspended for three days. Meanwhile, the govt. Bill lee, President of the Chamber Cameron Sexton, and the lieutenant governor Randy McNally, all Republicans have not commented on the situation and whether the lawmaker should take up the issue again in its next session.