Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mark Luttrell: New Year's Resolution For Our Community

Mark Luttrell is sheriff of Shelby County:

Recently I spoke with a 35 year old mother who expressed concern for her 20-year-old son in our jail for multiple criminal offenses.

Her request was not for mercy but instead was an expression of frustration over the criminal way of life she inherited from her mother and that she had passed on to her children. This mother touched all the bases: teenage pregnancies out of wedlock, numerous children without parental supervision, a school system incapable of holding the child's attention, juvenile delinquency and drug involvement leading ultimately to another generation entering the adult criminal justice system.

Those of us in law enforcement call it the "cycle of crime."

Criminal behavior must be addressed swiftly and surely but to really make a difference requires a paradigm shift of monumental poportions.

The societal issues that fester criminal behavior such as those expressed by the young 35-year-old mother require a community commitment unseen in recent years. A profile of the average jail inmate confirms that the breakdown of so many family support systems produces a lawless society that makes an entire community uncomfortable and disillusioned.

My hope for 2009 is that we, each citizen, look inward for ways to
impact some of the core issues impacting our future as a city. Pick
one -- teenage pregnancies, domestic violence, neighborhood schools, substance abuse, summer youth programs, and family values -- and focus your energy toward making a difference.

All of us have a sphere of influence where we can make a difference and help is definitely needed from all of us.


Anonymous said...

Better start looking for governmental assistance because in Memphis it has gone completely out of control, you have more of every type of criminal in every stage of the cycle running free here than anywhere I've sen and I've been to Philly, Detroit, NYC, and Los Angeles, you got all the bad and none of the good.
You need to get an effective rehab program, a rehab village, and rehab jobs that pay enough for felons to take care of their families, insure them and pay health costs, and the jobs better not be do nothing handouts. They have to be productive and do something for the city, gardening where there were none, empty lot cleanup, and making vertical axis windmills on city and county bldgs to get you deadbeats off our backs (and cut your budget or change it).
We don't want to hear excuses that th paradigm shift is hard. That position in betwen sitting and standing is not "trying" to sit down. There is no try, only you are or you aren't. Either do it or don't.

Aaron said...

The point is to stop the cycle at the early ages which requires ALL OF US stepping in and becoming mentors and modeling what a functional family looks like. And that is the the HARD part because it's inconvenient and requires our precious time. How else are these kids going to learn a new reality?

Thanks for the challenge Mark.

Let's hope every Memphis citizen, every church in Memphis takes you up on it.

Anonymous said...

If you are waiting on that, the results are already in, better wake up, nobody's doing that here. With the populations of dysfunctional families parents being comprised of uneducated violent criminals, ex-convicts, child molesters, and those waiting on trial, they are correct in not participating as it will be bad for their children if the least little thing goes wrong.
because their rehab program for re-entering felons is inept.

The reason it's hard for Memphians to model what a functional family looks like is because you think you have one already.
If you go into it looking to find out what a functional family is, instead of a marginally functional family, you'll see the difference.

Most of the kids who are well beyond at risk (we need to stop using that term because it's only treating ourselves nicer than we deserve or than will serve us, obviously) they are more properly termed "already compromised", have no functional families living near them that are rightfully willing to get involved, so, if they get 25 minutes to an hour with you, they go back to crap and the cycle remains unbroken, don't kid yourself.
The solution MUST BE INSTITUTIONAL NOW, because Memphis has let the problem go unchecked for FAR FAR FAR too long. It may not even be fixable by any means at this point.
You get what you sew.

Aaron said...

"If you are waiting on that, the results are already in, better wake up, nobody's doing that here....You get what you sew."

Do nothing, expect nothing.
Do something and maybe in 10-20 years we'll see the fruit of our labors. There is no easy fix. Just a lot of hard collective work. No the institution won't do it either, or maybe it would while bankrupting the rest of the city...

Anonymous said...

You are seeing through the glasses of conventional thinking and that will not work.
You are also wrong, it won't 3 years for a full recovery, if we do what's actually called for and get the right people here to design the plan and actually put it into motion and follow it through to the end and only changing tactics when necessary and never changing overarching common goal and strategy till the fruit is on the tree.

Anonymous said...

Oh, as far as "the institution doing something while bankrupting the city"
Did you really post that?
Surely you have noticed that we are also #1 in bankruptcies. The city government with it's tyrannical double taxation has already bankrupted the city. Too late, Time for a little payback I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Memphis gets Federal Dollars every year to do just what was suggested, so far results are worse than abysmal. Plenty of money comes in, but it disappears somewhere in "the county".