Michigan's Juvenile Justice Reforms: What You Need to Know

Michigan has recently made significant changes to its juvenile justice system, aimed at providing better outcomes for young people who come into contact with the law. As a parent or guardian, it's essential to understand these reforms and how they may affect your family. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the key aspects of Michigan's juvenile justice reforms and provide practical tips for navigating the system.

1. Raise the Age Legislation

In October 2019, Michigan passed a series of bills known as the "Raise the Age" legislation. This reform raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18, meaning that 17-year-olds will now be treated as juveniles rather than adults in the criminal justice system. This change is significant because research has shown that young people who are treated as juveniles have better outcomes and lower recidivism rates than those who are treated as adults. For more information on the Raise the Age legislation, visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

2. Diversion Programs

Diversion programs are an alternative to formal court proceedings, allowing young people who have committed minor offenses to avoid a criminal record and receive support to address the underlying issues that led to their involvement in the justice system. Michigan has expanded the availability of these programs, which can include community service, counseling, and education. To learn more about diversion programs in Michigan, visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Diversion Programs Fact Sheet.

3. Restorative Justice Practices

Restorative justice is an approach that focuses on repairing the harm caused by crime, rather than simply punishing the offender. Michigan has been working to implement restorative justice practices in its juvenile justice system, which can include victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, and community reparative boards. These practices have been shown to reduce recidivism and improve satisfaction for both victims and offenders. For more information on restorative justice in Michigan, visit the Michigan Courts Restorative Justice page.

4. Family Engagement

Family engagement is a crucial component of successful juvenile justice reform. Michigan has recognized this and is working to involve families in the decision-making process and provide support services to help address the needs of the entire family. This can include family therapy, parenting classes, and assistance with accessing community resources. By involving families in the process, young people are more likely to succeed in their rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.

5. Navigating the System

Understanding and navigating the juvenile justice system can be challenging for parents and guardians. It's essential to know your rights and responsibilities and to seek legal advice when needed. The experienced attorneys at Tanis Schultz can help you navigate Michigan's juvenile justice reforms and ensure that your child receives the best possible outcome. With a deep understanding of the changes to the system and a commitment to advocating for the rights of young people, Tanis Schultz is the ideal partner in navigating the complexities of Michigan's juvenile justice system.

In conclusion, Michigan's juvenile justice reforms represent a significant shift towards a more rehabilitative and restorative approach to dealing with young people who come into contact with the law. By understanding these changes and seeking appropriate legal support, parents and guardians can help ensure the best possible outcomes for their children. For more information on how Tanis Schultz can help your family navigate the juvenile justice system, contact us today.

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