Bill to provide more diversion options for juvenile offenders

Posted at 1:47 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 16:39:50-04

To help juveniles who find themselves in the judicial system, a new bill will give judges greater flexibility to provide age-appropriate penalties for young offenders that could enhance and expedite rehabilitation.

On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 251, which was sponsored by Sen. John Proos, to expand diversion opportunities for juveniles in the criminal justice system. The hopes of the bill is to more quickly direct the youth to treatment services and provide greater options for judges.

“Reinventing Michigan’s criminal justice system is critically important, and this bill helps our judicial leaders assess penalties for juvenile offenders in a way that will hopefully lead to better long-term rehabilitation outcomes for our young people,” Snyder said in a release.

The bill amends the Juvenile Code to address consent calendars, which is a less formal process for handling juvenile cases. Case records will be maintained in a nonpublic manner and restrict access to those records, and the records may be destroyed by the court 28 days after the juvenile turns 17.

In the bills Legislative Analysis, it states that it will allow more juvenile cases to be moved to the consent calendar, expanding the eligibility, as long as it is in the best benefit for the youth and the public. It also states that there will be a check-and-balance to protect the public’s safety, as prosecuting attorneys will have veto power over a transfer to the consent calendar.