STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

State of Opportunity special: juvenile justice in Michigan

Today we brought you a special, hour-long call-in show on Michigan’s juvenile justice system.

Host Jennifer White was joined by guests Frank Vandervort from the University of Michigan Law School, Scott Leroy from Ingham County courts, educator and activist Shaka Senghor (his TED talk is below), and Marie Williams from the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ). The show explored the consequences of incarcerating kids in adult prisons, discussed alternative options for juvenile offenders, and asked what is the future of juvenile justice in Michigan.

There are so many highlights, Senghor's description of what 7 years of solitary confinement were like for him was particularly powerful. Vandervort's argument that the system we have costs a lot of money and doesn't get the results many would like to see matched a lot of the comments on our Facebook page and Scott Leroy gave a compassionate and realistic explanation of what a county can do for juvenile offenders who live there. 

Listen to the whole thing here. If you have more thoughts on juvenile justice, feel free to post them here, on our Facebook page, or e-mail Sarah Alvarez directly at

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