A new report by the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency is calling for an end to the state’s policy of automatically charging 17-year-olds as adults, and sending them to prison – even for non-violent offenses.
We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta.
The Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency says teens sent to prison are more likely to re-offend after they’re released. The vast majority of teens sent to prison are 17 and the average stay is five years.
That means, they’re released in their mid-twenties without acquiring the life skills of most other people their age, says Kristen Staley, who helped compile the report. She says sending teens to a youth facility makes more sense.
“It’s smarter,” she says. “It’s really no longer tough-on-crime, it’s smart on crime.”
The state Department of Corrections says teen-aged inmates – there are currently 77 serving time -- are already separated from the general population. Governor John Engler signed Michigan’s “adult-time-for-adult-crime” laws 18 years ago this month.