Michigan Courts Lock Up Children For Disobeying Their Parents, Skipping School

At a time when most blue states are bending over backwards to pervert the notion of criminal justice by eliminating cash bail and threatening to empty out the prisons, one state — Michigan — has gone to the opposite extreme. Judges there have sent children to juvenile hall from noncriminal offenses, like failing to attend online class, staying out after curfew, or repeatedly disobeying their parents.

According to Pro Publica, Michigan is burdened by an archaic and draconian juvenile justice system exemplified by the case of a 15-year-old from suburban Detroit known only as “Grace.”

Grace was sent to detention for violating her probation on earlier charges of theft and assault by failing to do her online schoolwork. Her situation was unusual. She was incarcerated for breaking a single rule of her probation during a pandemic, even as her school district said it wouldn’t penalize students and the governor had ordered that residential placement be restricted to children who posed a safety risk. Less than three weeks after ProPublica published the first story about her case, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered her immediate release.

A contributing factor to the state’s excessive punishment for minors is its inadequate system of record keeping.

Michigan keeps such poor data that the state can’t even say how many juveniles it has in custody at any given time or what crimes they committed. … [A] ProPublica analysis of the federal government’s most recent estimate, which used data collected on a single day in 2017, shows that about 30% of the youth confined to detention and residential facilities in Michigan were there for noncriminal offenses, compared with 17% for the country overall.

Cross-posted with Liberty Unyielding


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