LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Keeping children out of the justice system may soon become a reality in Michigan. A task force seeking to reform the juvenile justice system has decided what needs to be done to achieve this.
On Monday, Michigan’s Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform approved 25 recommendations it wants lawmakers to consider to help improve safety in communities across the state.
Some of these recommendations include:
- Expand diversion options for youth who do not pose a risk to public safety.
- Create a statewide juvenile public defense system and best practice standards.
- Increase funding for effective community programs, including alternatives to incarceration, and link funding to evidence-based practices.
- Adopt data-driven tools to guide diversion, justice and detention decisions.
- Strengthening standards and quality assurance for local probation practices and statewide residential programs.
- Expand data collection to measure system performance, outcomes and equity.
- Establish a statewide advisory council comprised of youth and families impacted by the system to help guide ongoing improvements to the system.
“These reforms, many of which are prioritizing, creating more opportunities for diversion, sometimes prejudicial diversion to connect people to services available at the county level,” said Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II.
“What we’re really looking to do is take misdemeanors and misdemeanors and divert these kids so they don’t interact with the justice system,” said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement. .
It is now up to the legislator to translate these recommendations into law.
State Representative Sarah Lightner of Jackson County said she would sponsor many of these proposals.
By Friday, the task force will publish its report, including details of the recommendations.
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