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Program offers jobs to low-level offenders in Wayne, Marquette and Genessee counties

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Wayne County is the most recent addition to a state-funded program that can connect people who’ve committed low-level and non-assaultive crimes with jobs.

If those people stay in the jobs for a year, they can have their charges dismissed.

Eighteen people have signed up so far in Wayne County, but the program has the capacity for 200. It's also running in Marquette and Genesee counties.

Across all three counties, 450 people will be able to join the program.

Those charged with crimes of sexual or domestic violence, assault, theft or retail fraud will not be eligible.

The Michigan Legislature has allotted over $4.8 million dollars for this program with almost half of that money going to Wayne County.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says Wayne County has had 30 people enroll in the program since it started in June.

"When people enter the the Wayne County justice system, we want to make sure that they're successful. That really is our hope, especially when they're charged with a lower level crime," Worthy said during a Monday press conference.

"It's obviously not for people who are charged with violent crime or theft related crimes. This program is smart on crime. It reduces the burden of our community. It also helps our local businesses who are our partners, as well as making our community safer."

Job Court is a prosecutorial diversion pilot program that aims to reduce recidivism and help businesses by providing Michiganders accused of low-level, non-assaultive offenses with the opportunity to obtain and maintain gainful employment, according to the state.

You can find more information here: https://www.michigan.gov/ag/initiatives/job-court

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.
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