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Keep the Numbers Low

Keep The Numbers Low: Reducing Youth Confinement in the Wake of COVID-19: Using Probation as a Response for Youth who Commit Serious Offenses

In many jurisdictions, it is common practice for youth who commit a serious offense to be confined instead of receiving services in the community, even though these youth are the most in need of these services. In this episode, our host speaks with Judge Sheila Calloway and Chief of Juvenile Probation Kelly Gray from Nashville, Tennessee about their strategies for using probation as a response to youth that commit serious offenses. They also offer stories of young people that have thrived as a part of their probation program.

For a tool that youth confinement decision makers can use to keep youth confinement numbers low, download the Checklist for Juvenile Confinement Decisions During and After COVID-19.

Guest Bios:

Judge Sheila Calloway has been serving on the bench of the Juvenile Court of Metropolitan Nashville & Davidson County Tennessee since 2004. She started off as an appointed magistrate, after working at the Metro Public Defender’s Office in both the adult system as well as the juvenile system, and in 2014 she became the elected judge. For several years, Judge Calloway has been leading her county’s juvenile justice reform activities, especially around probation transformation. She regularly speaks on juvenile justice reforms at national and state conferences.

Kelly Gray, a Nashville native, started her career at Davidson County Juvenile Court in 2006 as a probation officer. In 2010 she became Probation Officer Supervisor for the mental health unit, and in 2012, Kelly became the supervisor of the gang and high-risk unit for probation. In her role as gang unit supervisor, she was instrumental in the development of the first youth gang court known as GRIP – Gang Resistance Intervention Program. In 2019 she was appointed to chief of probation by Judge Sheila Calloway of the Davidson County Juvenile Court. In this position she oversees three teams of probation officers known as the Support, Intervention, and Accountability teams (SIA).

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