All in Local News

Michigan lawmakers should lose no more time giving 17-year-olds access to juvenile court

Michigan is one of only five states that automatically prosecute all 17-year-old offenders as adults. Lawmakers introduced bills last year to raise the age of adult criminal liability to 18, but put the discussion on hold while a consulting firm conducted a cost study to determine the proposal’s financial impact. The study’s completion in early March has put the ball back in the legislature’s court. Although imperfect, the study can help policymakers with their efforts to enact the change, and Michigan should lose no time in joining the other states that have already done so.

Teens raped in prison have civil rights, Michigan appeals court rules

The state can be held liable for teens raped in Michigan prisons, after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled a state law that halted civil rights at the prison gate was unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 decision released Tuesday, a Court of Appeals panel threw out a 1999 law that said the state’s civil rights law, the Elliott Larson Civil Rights Act, doesn’t apply to prisoners.

Cutting-edge music studio at Highfields making strides with at-risk youth

ONONDAGA, MI - Early last summer, a grant from the James and Kimberly Currie Foundation helped create a new music studio at Highfields Inc.'s residential campus in Onondaga.

Since then, the at-risk youth who come through the multi-purpose human services organization have been making the most of the state-of-the-art recording equipment, finding meaningful ways to express themselves through song.

Detroit's Shakespeare in Prison to offer workshop for juveniles (Washtenaw County/YAA!)

Detroit Public Theatre's Shakespeare in Prison program has received a grant to expand to work with juveniles.

The program currently works with female prisoners at the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti. The $15,000 Michigan Humanities Council grant has in part allowed it to start a 12-week workshop with young people in treatment at the Washtenaw County Youth Center.

5 takeaways from effort to re-design juvenile justice in Muskegon

Edward J. Latessa from the University of Cincinnati Correctional Institute has been hired by Muskegon County to re-design the county's juvenile justice system.

He spoke about his vision March 20 to a diverse group of court employees, judges, politicians and other public officials at Grand Valley State University's Innovation Hub on the waterfront in Downtown Muskegon. Muskegon County Circuit Court Administrator Eric Stevens and Family Court Presiding Judge Gregory C. Pittman also spoke.

Michigan House paves way for less strict school discipline policies

A vote in the Michigan House this afternoon will upend many of the strict, zero-tolerance policies in schools that many say are unfairly kicking kids out of school — sometimes for months at a time — for offenses that could be handled differently.

The House voted 107-1 today to provide the final legislative approval of a package of bills aimed at giving schools greater flexibility in meting out punishment to students — and ultimately cutting back on the number of kids expelled or suspended from Michigan schools.

The House vote came after the Senate voted 37-0 Tuesday night. The House originally approved the bipartisan, seven-bill package in June, but had to vote again today because of changes made to the legislation in the Senate.