Introduction to TRACS
The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is launching a new collaboration
with the Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons. The Truancy Reduction
Action Coalition for Students (TRACS) is a coordinated effort to support the DA's
Truancy Reduction Program. The program currently works with students from eight Memphis
City middle schools: Chickasaw, Cypress, Hamilton, Hickory Ridge, Humes, Sherwood,
Vance, and Westside. This is an exciting opportunity for CJUS students and an excellent
way to build your resume and professional experience.
Why should I get involved?
The latest truancy data for Memphis City Schools last year painted this picture: 45,000-plus
students with at least five unexcused absences, and 20,000 were truant for 10 or more
days. Criminology research consistently demonstrates that habitual truancy is a factor
in future juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior. One quarter of all juvenile
crime occurs during school hours, off of school property. In short, truancy is a
community safety issue. An evaluation done by the Department of Criminology and
Criminal Justice in 2010 found that students in the DA's Truancy Reduction Program
experienced a sharp drop in unexcused absences once they were matched with a mentor
- truancy rates were cut in half! This program works.
What is TRACS?
TRACS refers to the Truancy Reduction Action Coalition for Students. CJUS students
are being recruited to serve as mentors to a Memphis City School student who has had
five unexcused absences. Mentors must be at least 18 years old and be willing to
commit 8 hours per month to spend time with your mentee. We are seeking volunteers
who are willing to serve for at least one year. Mentors will receive training directly
from the DA's office. Additionally, the DA will provide a letter of appreciation
and recognition for your involvement in the program.
The Criminal Justice Student Association will support your efforts as a mentor by
coordinating a special event every other month. This will be a positive group activity
designed to help mentors and mentees spend time together. Additionally, the CJSA
will provide a reimbursement up to $20 per month to cover expenses that a mentor might
incur while spending time with their student. The $20 reimbursement can cover only
funds spent on the mentee and all requests for reimbursements must have receipts.
The goal of TRACS is to facilitate meaningful mentor relationships and to reduce truancy
in our community. Reimbursements will continue as long as we have funds.
How do I sign up?
There are a couple of options if you would like to become a mentor. You can visit
the DA's webpage. You can also e-mail Harold Collins, Special Assistant to the DA or call 901-545-5900. If you have questions or what additional details, you may
also e-mail Professor Wayne Pitts or cal 901-678-5662.