New bills could mean big changes for MI’s juvenile offenders

Oct 7, 2015

There’s been increasing scrutiny in recent years of how Michigan treats juveniles who are tried and convicted as adults in the state’s justice system. A bipartisan coalition of Michigan lawmakers is proposing big changes to the way the state handles these cases. We talk to Sen. Rick Jones, one of the sponsors of the bill package being introduced Wednesday, and Kristen Staley, Associate Director of Youth Justice Policy for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.


The Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency recently released the 'Youth Behind Bars' report.
Credit Courtesy image / Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

In the 1990s, many states, including Michigan, implemented tougher standards for prosecuting and sentencing juvenile offenders. Those “tough on crime” policies meant more minors got passed on to the adult justice system. Prison reform advocates say that has done more harm than good when it comes to public safety.

Now, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to change the way the state treats offenders under the age of 18. New bills being introduced in the state legislature would overhaul Michigan’s current policies.

To learn more about what these bills might mean for Michigan’s juvenile offenders, Current State talks with State Sen. Rick Jones, one of the sponsors of the bill package, and Kristen Staley, the Associate Director of Youth Justice Policy for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.