Task Force Urges Policy Reform to Keep MI Kids Out of Juvenile Justice System
Friday, July 22, 2022
Young people who have run-ins with the juvenile justice system are more likely to end up in the adult system. The Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform has approved a set of recommendations this week to change that.
The goals are to improve community safety, reduce disparities and improve outcomes. The recommendations range from expanding diversion programs and funding community-based alternatives to incarceration, to creating a statewide juvenile public defense system and increasing data collection to identify racial disparities, said Jason Smith, executive director of the Michigan Center for Youth Justice.
"We are extremely happy," he said, "that the recommendation to eliminate fines and fees - juvenile court fees that impose huge immense burdens on young people and families - that that was included in the recommendations and voted on unanimously, including by judges and prosecutors."
Smith noted that the task force was comprised of court administrators, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys, advocates, and young people and their families. He said he hopes legislators will make these recommendations into law as soon as possible.
Other recommendations include creating an advisory board of young people and their families to guide changes in the future, as well as strengthening standards for probation and residential programs.
State Sen. Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit, said the goal is to keep young people in the juvenile-justice system from entering the adult system when they are old enough.
"I think whatever we can do as a legislative body to make sure that we are putting in the necessary tools and supports to redirect that behavior," she said, "but also redirect them towards a path forward, versus a proverbial cycle of being part of the criminal-justice system."
She said investing in youths while they are young will save Michigan money in the long run. One study shows keeping just one child from dropping out of school, using drugs and entering the system can save more than $2.5 million.
get more stories like this via email
By Jake Christie for Great Lakes Echo. Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection, reporting for Great Lakes Echo/Solutions …
By Gabes Torres for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Kathryn Carley for Maine News Service, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …
Tribal leaders from the eight federally recognized tribes in Utah gathered at a news conference at the state Capitol this week and called on state law…
Ohio's teachers are applauding the governor's recently announced plan to overhaul the state's reading curriculum for elementary schoolers and boost re…
As the economy has changed with the pandemic in the past few years, Indiana's small communities have seen an exodus of jobs and people. However…
By Lisa Held for Civil Eats. Broadcast version by Eric Tegethoff for Big Sky Connection, reporting for Civil Eats/Solutions Journalism/Public News …
Students who are also parents face more challenges getting through college, but support for these students is getting an upgrade at Bowie State …
Arizona State University, YouTube and the video channel Crash Course have announced a partnership to offer a series of online courses for college …