City State Metro Council


District 21 City Councilor Brandon Taylor delivers Special Committee 37208’s report to Metropolitan Council on Tuesday, February 4, 2020.

NASHVILLE, TN – After spending 4 months studying several unresolved issues, the chairs of 8 special committees presented their findings to Metropolitan Council on Tuesday.

Vice-Mayor Jim Shulman thanked the committee members. “The work looks really good and I encourage everyone to watch the reports. Now that you have the recommendations, the question is, how do you want to implement them? Shulman asked.

Committees have looked at some of Metro’s most intractable issues, such as high incarceration rate in zip code 37209, stagnant salaries for Metro employees, insufficient number of bus stops for middle school students served by buses WeGo, the lack of textbooks in Metro schools and teachers paying for supplies. out of their own pockets, not enough code inspectors to deal with new construction and low voter turnout.

Each committee was made up of five council members, concerned citizens appointed to each committee by the vice-mayor. Each committee also included a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council.

“Either you die or you go to jail,” Deirdre Nicole of Gideon’s army said at the first meeting of Special Committee 37208.

“His statement sums up the desperation of many residents of 37208,” District 21 City Councilor Brandon Taylor said. He chaired the 37208 group and wrote an introductory letter in the 25-page report.

“But incarceration is a symptom, not the disease. The disease is a lack of opportunity, and that is why the work of Special Committee 37208 is paramount, ”he said.

The report clearly and categorically described “a death cycle” between the Jefferson Street area and the criminal justice system. What residents lack – good health care, education, affordable housing, good jobs – creates an environment in which police make numerous arrests for low-level offenses.

The US criminal justice system is a prison pipeline that incarcerates black males six times more than white males. In 2003, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that black men have a 1 in 3 chance of going to federal or state prison during their lifetime.

Postal code 37208 is a largely African-American neighborhood. The report states that its poor residents “face physical death and social or civil death on a cyclical basis.”

The history of systemic inequality and institutional racism is well known. “From slavery to the development of the penitentiary system, including Jim crow To redness, all neighborhoods in the United States have been affected, ”the report said.

What to do about it is the big question. The report presents a complex picture with two different but related objectives: restoration and prevention.

“If we are to support residents and families whose lives have been endangered and adversely affected by incarceration and racist police practices, we must also prevent crime, violence and violent systems from affecting families by first place, ”the report says.

Among his recommendations regarding repairs and return:

  • Reduce, eliminate and reform practices relating to fines and criminal justice costs.
  • Support programs to increase the possibilities of reinstating the driver’s license.
  • Work with judges to reform and end bail practices
  • Reduce pre-trial detention.
  • Increase opportunities for deregistration of files and restoration of voting rights.
  • Increase access to affordable housing for inmates leaving prison.
  • Expand restorative justice practices in the criminal justice system.
  • Carry out audits of the privatization of the prison and probation systems.

The report suggested three things that can be done immediately.

  • Draft and pass a Metro Council resolution requiring Metro to complete and publish the study on fines and criminal justice costs.
  • Support, develop and promote the Music City Community Court to bring residents into contact with deregistration, restoration of voting rights, reinstatement of driver’s license, access to employment, housing and social security. ‘other support services.
  • Work with the Tennessee General Assembly to pass legislation to immediately restore the right to vote of those convicted of crimes after they have served their sentences.

Regarding the maintenance of order, the report recommended the adoption of a neighborhood police policy, the elimination of racial disparities in roadside checks for offenses against immobility and the creation of a strategic plan “for the entire criminal justice system ”.

The report advised increased funding for youth development programs and continued support for the Nashville After School Zone Alliance. He also asked for funds to complete the renovation of the McGruder Family Resource Center and urged Metro City Council to order a strategic plan for public safety.

The report made 9 recommendations for community engagement. Among them were a 37208 advisory committee, town halls, voter registration events and the creation of a community foundation fund earmarked for 37208.

The full report is available on the Metro Council’s website: Council / Legislative-Information-Center.aspx.

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