Mary Beth Kelly, chair of the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice, voiced her support of legislation to treat more young people in the juvenile justice system, rather than the adult criminal justice system.

The House Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing on December 1 on a package of bills that would raise the age of automatic adult court jurisdiction from 17 to 18, and make other changes to ensure that juveniles are treated differently than adults when they commit crimes in most cases.

The legislation would also raise the state reimbursement in the state Child Care Fund to pay for juvenile justice services from 50% to 75%, a proposal supported by Ms. Kelly, a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice.

"Not all counties have the kind of resources, so there is a tremendous disparity of child care fund expenditures," she said. "Some of the counties just let the kids be sent to the Corrections Department because they can't pay the 50%."

Michigan is one of just nine states that automatically treat 17 year olds as adults.

You can read the Detroit Free Press article on the hearing here. You can read the Detroit News article here.

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