Posted by The Huron Hub | July 27, 2022
The Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform met recently to approve a comprehensive set of consensus-based recommendations to transform Michigan’s juvenile justice system.
Everette Robbins, director of public safety in Huron Township, was appointed to the task force in July 2021 by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The recommendations are based on an assessment of Michigan’s juvenile justice system, and “are grounded in what research shows works to improve community safety, reduce disparities, and improve youth outcomes,” a statement from the task force said.
The approved recommendations establish a statewide blueprint for aligning policies and practices across the juvenile justice continuum with research and best practice, including:
• Expanding diversion opportunities for youth who are not a public safety risk.
• Creating a statewide juvenile public defense system and best practice standards.
• Increasing funding for effective community-based programs, including alternatives to incarceration, and tying funding to evidence-based practices.
• Adopting data-driven tools to guide diversion, court, and detention decisions.
• Strengthening standards and quality assurance for local probation practices and statewide residential programs.
• Expanding data collection to measure system performance, outcomes, and equity.
• And establishing a statewide advisory board of youth and families impacted by the system to help guide ongoing system improvements.
The bipartisan task force was initially formed in June 2021 to study the juvenile justice system and develop data-driven recommendations for statewide reform.
The assessment involved case level data analysis, focus groups with hundreds of diverse stakeholders across the state, and listening sessions with youth and families directly impacted by the system.
Based on the assessment, multiple working groups met for months to identify and make recommendations to the task force for how best to improve the system.
“We all want safer communities and to make sure kids receive the services they need to get their lives back on track,” Robbins said. “I’m pleased that we are investing in effective community-based services while also focused on improving services in facilities for those kids that do commit more serious offenses so they can reintegrate successfully back into the community.”
The task force was composed of leaders from across branches of government, state and local agencies, those working in and impacted by the system.
“Michigan continues to lead on justice issues, and these consensus-based recommendations reaffirm our dedication to support our young Michiganders and improve community safety,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “These recommendations will reduce how many youth come into contact with the juvenile justice system and also serve young people that do enter the system more effectively and developmentally appropriately. We won’t let one mistake in a young person’s life shatter their future.”
To learn more about the recommendations, please visit visit this link.