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Changes may be coming to Michigan's juvenile justice system

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, a state House committee will consider changes to the juvenile justice system in Michigan.

The House Criminal Justice committeeis scheduled to discuss the 20-bill package starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Among other things, the package of bills would bar housing youth offenders with adult convicts and raise the age of mandatory adult sentences.   

TheMichigan Catholic Conference has been a leading supporter for changes to the way the state handles juvenile offenders. Dave Maluchnick is with the MCC.

“Move from just punishment to trying to rehabilitate an individual,” says Maluchnick. 

Maluchnick says studies show "get-tough-on-crime" policies haven’t worked.

Supporters say a side benefit of the proposals would mean lower costs for the Department of Corrections. 

The bills have bipartisan support in the Legislature, but as state lawmakers tackle a crowded legislative schedule before the end of the year, it’s possible the juvenile justice bills may struggle to move forward.   

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.