LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan may soon change the way it deals with kids who break the law.
Police and prosecutors across the nation have sometimes struggled to handle kids who commit crimes.
Should they be treated like kids? Or as adults?
While those answers often depend on the kid and the crime, a new juvenile justice report put together by state officials includes a list of recommendations.
The goal is to lessen the harm run-in with the law can have on a young person’s life.
A comprehensive report was released after a year of collaboration between lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and even young people who have gone through the system. The report’s 25 recommendations look to reduce crime, improve the use of resources and tackle racial disparities.
In the recommendations, officials called for the creation of a statewide juvenile public defense force to provide quality legal representation.
A juvenal justice services division would be set up to oversee the court’s handling of youth cases. They also call for adopting risk and needs screenings to better guide court decisions.
Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist said this report is one step to further the impact of state resources while providing a pathway for kids.
“We will not give up on you. We must build a system that values accountability as well as justice but also priorities hope. A system where every adult in Michigan is invested in the success and empowerment of every child. A system that ensures the past does not define the future and gives kids the resources they need to succeed,” Gilchrist said.
Officials will release the full report on Friday. After that, lawmakers and task force members will work together to turn the recommendation into legislation.