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
A Nevada democracy watchdog group said social media, blogs, websites and hyperpartisan news organizations are all working overtime to spread …
Education officials in Ohio want state leaders to invest in free school meals for all students. Pandemic-era federal waivers enabling schools to …
Agriculture researchers say if the U.S. wants more farmers to adopt climate-friendly practices, they will need to be offered some proven incentives…
As the fall harvest season takes shape in South Dakota, an agricultural specialist said there are many ways motorists and farmers can avoid crashes …
Massachusetts residents are being asked to step up, just as they did five years ago, to help their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. The …
It's been more than 50 years since the White House held a gathering about the effects of hunger across the nation. In 1969, the White House held its …
By Caleigh Wells for KCRW.Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the KCRW-Public News Service Collaboration Wh…
As the midterm elections approach, there are concerns about whether Latino voters will turn out as much as they have in past elections. In New York…