Things are about to change for certain young people in Van Buren County, Michigan. In the past, if you commited a crime, it was likely to stick around on your record indefinitely. And while juvenile records are usually sealed from public view, that doesn’t mean they’re inaccessible! However, a new program proposed by the Family Division Administrator Lynn Bullard, and supported by The Van Buren County Board of Commissioners, hopes to give young offenders a new way to clear their records through a diversion program.
Diversion programs are common in Michigan
Diversion programs aren’t a new idea, and Michigan has a substantial number of treatment courts offering diversion programs for non-violent offenders. The way it usually worked is for the court to assign therapy or some other form of helpful program to a defendant once they’ve pled guilty. The defendant’s progress is closely monitored by the judge. If they successfully complete the program they are free to go. If they don’t complete the program they are sent to jail.
So what makes this special? Well, the fact that it’s tailored for young people is one factor. Many young people struggle with poor impulse control, and don’t understand the long term consequences of their choices. This means they reach adulthood already labelled as “troubled” with a criminal record. Allowing them a way to set the record straight gives them a better chance at a future!
So how will Van Buren County’s youth diversion program work?
Since the biggest obstacle to getting this program off the ground has always been money, it was a simple matter of rearranging available funds. One solution is that the the finance officer position in the juvenile court will be eliminated, and a youth diversion officer position could then be created in its place. The state would cover a substantial portion of the diversion officer’s salary, which would help alleviate some of the burden on the county.
The program will be very similar in it’s set up to the Ingham County Teen Court program, which functions as a diversion program. The Ingham Teen Court is a juvenile justice program that employs restorative justice principles. The program works with young people and their families to help them get back on their feet after making mistakes, and keeping them in school and out of jail. The Kronzek Firm’s founder Chuck Kronzek serves as a judge in this court.
Has your son or daughter been arrested and charged with a crime?
Juvenile cases need to be handled with a special kind of experience and trust. Kids are not like adults, and they often need more help to untangle a difficult legal situation. At The Kronzek Firm, we understand exactly how complex these types of situations can be, because we’ve been defending Michigan’s young people for years. We also practice in every county in Michigan’s lower peninsula, not just Van Buren County.
If your son or daughter has been arrested and charged with a crime, we can help. Our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience dealing with both juvenile and adult criminal defense. We are available 24/7 to families who need help during this difficult time, and can work with you to achieve the best possible outcome in your case!
You can speak to a criminal defense expert by calling 1 866 7NoJail (1 866-766-5245)