Wed. May 29th, 2024

Bill that would fine parents for kids’ crimes passes Tennessee legislature

Alex Thompson By Alex Thompson May23,2024

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Parents of kids who commit crimes in Tennessee will face fines up to $1,000 for each offense after the first one, under a bill that’s headed to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk.

The Parental Accountability Act, sponsored by Memphis-area Republicans Sen. Brent Taylor and Rep. John Gillespie, passed this week in both chambers.

After a juvenile’s first offense, juvenile court is required to fine their parents for each subsequent crime, according to the bill’s language. If parents can’t afford the fine, they will be able to work it off through community service.

“If I had to pick up trash all day because of something that my child had done and I had to go along the interstate and my friends, loved ones, neighbors saw me picking up trash because of something that my son had done, I think I would pay a little bit more attention,” said Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner.

Taylor has said the fines aren’t meant to be punitive, but rather encourage parents to pay closer attention to what their children are up to.

“Too many juveniles are routine offenders due to lack of parental supervision,” Taylor said in a statement. “By holding parents accountable, parents are more likely to know what their children are doing and more likely to get their children the help and oversight needed.”

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Democrats disagree that fines are the right solution to juvenile crime. Rep. G.A. Hardaway of Memphis, for example, likened them to a tax that would primarily affect low-income parents, creating economic hardship for families.

But most agree that Memphis and Shelby County are feeling the effects of juvenile crime. In 2023, Memphis Police told the City Council that officers had arrested more than 4,000 juveniles, including more than 500 for motor vehicle theft.

Over the weekend, a gathering of hundreds of young people in Orange Mound ended in a mass shooting that killed two and injured seven others. Many of the victims were teenagers.

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Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said Tuesday that the county’s juvenile facility is nearing capacity, with 118 juvenile offenders held there. The youngest was 13 years old.

“Parents, we urge you to know where your children are and who they spend time with while away from you. Your guidance and involvement can make a significant difference in their lives,” Bonner said on social media.

Alex Thompson

By Alex Thompson

Alex is an award-winning journalist with a passion for investigative reporting. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Alex has covered a wide range of topics from politics to entertainment. Known for in-depth research and compelling storytelling, Alex's work has been featured in major news outlets around the world.

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2 thoughts on “Bill that would fine parents for kids’ crimes passes Tennessee legislature”
  1. I believe that parents should indeed be held accountable for their children’s actions. It’s crucial for parents to be more involved in guiding and supervising their kids to prevent them from getting into trouble in the first place. This bill could serve as a wake-up call for parents who may not be paying enough attention to their children’s behavior.

  2. As a parent myself, I believe that holding parents accountable for their children’s actions is crucial. If parents are more involved and aware of their children’s activities, it can prevent them from becoming repeat offenders. The idea of fines may seem harsh, but it could be a wake-up call for parents to be more vigilant.

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