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juvenile justice

Jamie Rykse was sent to an adult prison after a home invasion when she was 17. "I had been to hell and back," she says now. "I needed help."
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

For the past few years, a campaign has been building to change how Michigan handles 17-year-olds who commit crimes.

As it stands now, those 17-year-olds are automatically charged as adults, and – when convicted – sent to adult prisons.

Advocates say Michigan is one of only seven states in the nation that still do this. And, in the next few weeks, they’re hoping to finally push through a law to change it.

The law already has a lot to say about turning 18. That’s the age you can vote, the age you can join the military, and buy a pack of cigarettes.

jail cells
miss_millions / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The U.S. Department of Education recently released its annual Civil Rights Data Collection. And for the first time it includes information about the days and hours of educational programs at juvenile justice facilities.

Handcuffed man
houstondwiphotos mp / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you've ever filled out a job application, I'm sure you've come across the question asking whether you've ever been convicted of a criminal offense.

For someone who was formerly incarcerated, having to check "yes" can make it nearly impossible to find a job or a place to live.

Research points Michigan toward juvenile justice reform

Aug 21, 2015
Kashfi Halford / Flickr Creative Commons

 Michigan has more reasons now than ever before to consider juvenile justice reform. Something to add to the list: a report released this week by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The report zeroes in on what deters kids from committing crimes in the first place. Most of what we know about recidivism is based on adults. Very few studies have been done with juveniles – until now.  

user miss_millions / flickr

If you're 17 and you commit a crime in Michigan, you are automatically sentenced as an adult. You can't even vote yet, and you're sentenced as an adult. There are only nine states that try 17-year olds as adults, and Michigan is one of them. According to The Marshall Project, there seems to be some momentum to "raise the age" of an adult from 17 to 18 in North Carolina, New York and Wisconsin.

aapo haapanen

By now, many of you know about the tragic story out of the Bronx this weekend. 

Kalief Browder was sent to Rikers Island in 2010 when he was 16 years old. He never had a trial or a criminal conviction (the original accusation was that he took a backpack), but he was forced to stay there for three years anyway. Browder struggled after his release, and on Saturday he took his own life.

Joanne Johnson / Flickr

Many colleges are making more of an effort to support students who come from foster care. But Professor Angelique Day says that’s way too late for most kids, since half of all kids in foster care don’t even graduate from high school.

Kevin Dooley / flickr

Michigan has been scolding  "you're going to pay for that!" to young offenders across the state for close to two decades. 

This punishment comes in forms traditional to criminal justice: juvenile detention, jail for those 17 and older, probation, parole. Increasingly though, it also means that young offenders must literally find the money to pay a host of costs to courts and sheriff's departments across the state. 

Ingham County

As we were prepping for our special on juvenile justice, we had a chat with one of our guests, Scott Leroy from Ingham County's juvenile justice programs. We wanted to know  how the Lansing area ended up with some pretty innovative programs for kids who get in trouble with the law. 

State of Opportunity special: juvenile justice in Michigan

Jan 15, 2015

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.

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