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Michigan one of four states picked to explore reform to juvenile justice system

Lansing, Mich. Sept. 30, 2014 –Michigan is one of four states competitively selected by the National Governors Association to examine ways to improve the juvenile justice system – creating better outcomes for youth and safer communities for everyone.

Over the next several months, teams from the four states will explore recommendations on improving outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system. Teams will focus on improving information-sharing across systems that serve youth, limiting involvement of low-risk youths in the juvenile justice system and expanding community based-alternatives to incarceration. By implementing policies and practices shown to improve outcomes for youth, states can lower recidivism rates, reduce costs and improve public safety. 

The other states are Arkansas, Indiana and Tennessee. Selected states will:

  • Participate in regular networking activities.
  • Receive ongoing technical assistance from National Governors Association staff and national experts.
  • Identify potential recommendations to be presented to their governors.
  • Participate in a two-day meeting in Connecticut.

“The Michigan Department of Human Services has been working hard to improve outcomes for young people in our juvenile justice system,” said Herman McCall, acting director of Juvenile Justice Programs for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

“For example, we have implemented grants to rural counties for in-home care programs to be used as an alternative to detention and incarceration,” McCall said. “Our School-Justice Partnership initiative is designed to prevent young people from entering the juvenile justice system and to divert them from avoidable legal action if and when they do have contact with the system. We have been working tirelessly, in partnership with numerous stakeholders, to amend zero-tolerance legislation that can result in unjust school expulsions for relatively minor offenses that put young people in a pipeline to prison. Michigan needs all of its young people to contribute for our economy and quality of life to continue to improve. I look forward to what our team can learn from other states that are reforming their juvenile justice systems.”