After hearing reports that detainees of the Shelby County Juvenile Court detention center had inadequate clothing to guard against frigid temperatures outside and inside, criminal justice reform advocacy group Just City dropped off 80 sweatshirts for the facility's 80 or so residents.
Just City's founder, Josh Spickler, said he learned through attorneys that the underage detainees often spoke to their legal representatives through chattering teeth, while wearing only short-sleeved teeshirts.
Spickler decided his organization would donate as many sweatshirts as they could. Bluff City Sports pitched in and donated additional garments to fill the gap.
"I don't have any information that would suggest that the building's HVAC controls aren't working," said Spickler, "but regardless, I think we all know that large buildings are difficult to heat and cool on a consistent level. These kids should have more than a short-sleeved shirt."
Temperatures in Memphis dropped drastically in the early hours of Sunday, and have remained below freezing for the duration of today's daylight hours.
Just a few months ago, temperature control at the detention center was under scrutiny as media learned the detention center was without air-conditioning during the sweltering heat of late August and early September.
"Keeping them comfortable and providing basics like consistent temperatures should not be too much to expect," Spickler added.
Chief Kirk Fields of the juvenile detention center, who was on hand to receive the clothing donations, maintained that the building was adequately heated for its occupants.
Responding to the assertion that attorneys for the minors reported inadequate clothing paired with subpar heating, Fields said that he was not aware of such reports.
"I'm appreciative of Josh for the donation," said Fields. "Around this time of year, we receive donations from a lot of nonprofit agencies, just bringing Christmas cheer to the kids. So, I'll take this as another one of those holiday donations."