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New program will divert young offenders in Wayne County away from criminal justice system

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy hopes to channel some first time young offenders into a new mediation program and away from the criminal justice system.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office handles thousands of juvenile delinquency cases.

Prosecutor Worthy is partnering with the Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center to redirect some youthful offenders into the “Talk It Out” mediation program.

The program is an alternative to charging children and teenagers with minor property damage, theft, simple assault and similar offenses.

“Our motivation is simply to try to keep some youth out of the criminal justice system,” says Worthy. “And to give them the services they need so they can better their lives.”

The offender’s parents and alleged victims will have to sign off on the process, which will include mediation and counseling. The offender will also be required to admit their mistake and take steps to repair or alleviate the harm done. 

Siham Jaafar is the Board President of the Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center.

“Providing a platform for communication and reform provides a pathway to true healing,” says Jaafar.

It’s unclear how many young people in Wayne County will qualify for the program.

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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