Juvenile Justice Reforms Signed into Law

Dec 15, 2023

by Liz Gullett

As MLC’s Communications and Social Media Manager, Liz Gullett keeps clients informed and up-to-date on the goings on in Lansing and the Capitol.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist signed a bipartisan package of legislation reforming Michigan’s juvenile justice system and investing in diversion and re-entry services. The bills implement the recommendations of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform, which was formed in 2021 by Governor Whitmer to analyze the state’s juvenile justice system and make recommendations.

The changes include:

    • Allowing juvenile courts and law enforcement to use risk and mental health screening tools to be more flexible about whether to keep a juvenile out of detention or court and keeping them in diversion programs for no more than three months.
    • Allows county governments to use the Child Care Fund to support evidence-driven, community-based services for juveniles that prevent recidivism and improve outcomes.
    • Removes certain fees and costs for juvenile defendants.
    • Changes the name of the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman to the Office of the Child Advocate.
    • Requires the Child Advocate to protect the rights and welfare of children in juvenile facilities and allows judges to file complaints with the Child Advocate on their behalf.
    • Allows courts to consider factors such as a juvenile’s developmental maturity, emotional health, mental health, tribal status, and victim impacts when deciding whether to try them as an adult.
    • Sets up an appellate defense system for indigent youth, ensuring they have representation in their appeals.

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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