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Michigan Leadership Enacts Laws to Reform State’s Juvenile Justice System

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist has signed bipartisan legislation in Detroit to address Michigan’s juvenile justice system and invest in diversion and re-entry services designed to better position Michigan youth for success as adults, Ken Coleman reports for The ‘Gander. The Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform found that in 2019 nearly half of all cases initiated in juvenile court in Michigan were for repeatedly missing school or property crimes and that more than 60 percent of youth placed in detention committed a status (truancy, curfew violations, running away, etc.) or a misdemeanor offense.

New protocols under the legislation would include requiring risk screening and mental health screening in order for courts to make decisions in diverting youth from court or placing them in consent calendar proceedings; a three month limit on how long minors could be held in a treatment program per a diversion agreement; screening requirements to be implemented before a juvenile is remanded to a secure facility; and expanded language in Michigan law to include juveniles as possible indigent defendants.

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