Michigan Proposes Juvenile Justice Reforms After Story of Teen Locked Up for Missing Homework Exposed Gaps in System
The story of Grace, the Michigan teen detained for not doing her online schoolwork during the pandemic, has prompted a series of juvenile justice reforms.
A year after Grace’s story drew national attention when she was jailed for not doing her online schoolwork, outcry over the shackling of young people in court has resulted in a ban on the practice unless there’s a risk of physical harm or flight.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed a task force to examine the state’s juvenile justice system and recommend reforms after a Black teen was jailed for not doing her online coursework.
Judges Are Locking Up Children for Noncriminal Offenses Like Repeatedly Disobeying Their Parents and Skipping School
Michigan’s juvenile justice system is archaic. Counties act with little oversight, and the state keeps such poor data it doesn’t know how many juveniles it has in custody or what happens to them once they’re in the system.
“Your past does not define you,” Grace said in her first public event. The Michigan teen’s case sparked national outrage and the #FreeGrace campaign after she was sent to juvenile detention for not completing online schoolwork.
Case Closed: Michigan Judge Removes Grace, Black Teen Jailed for Not Doing Online Schoolwork, From Probation
The 15-year-old is now free from the court system. In a hearing, an Oakland County judge released her from probation after a caseworker said, “It is best for the family to move forward.”
Grace’s story, first published by ProPublica Illinois, prompted outrage and debate across the country. Though a judge refused to set the girl free, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered her immediate release from a juvenile detention facility in Detroit.
Although earlier this year prosecutors pushed for the detention of a Michigan high schooler during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have now repeatedly said they support sending her home to her mother.
At a hearing Monday, Judge Mary Ellen Brennan denied a motion to release a 15-year-old from a juvenile facility. “I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” Brennan said. “You are blooming there, but there is more work to be done.”
The Michigan Supreme Court Is Reviewing the Case of a Teenager Incarcerated After Not Doing Online Schoolwork During the Pandemic
Attorneys for a 15-year-old sent to juvenile detention for not doing her schoolwork argued the teenager is not a threat to the community, contrary to a judge’s ruling. Now Michigan’s Supreme Court is stepping in.
Thousands Demand That Michigan #FreeGrace After the Teenager Was Incarcerated for Not Doing Her Schoolwork
After a ProPublica investigation, public officials are pushing for the release of a Black 15-year-old sent to juvenile detention after a judge ruled that not doing her online schoolwork violated her probation. A petition has thousands of signatures.
A 15-year-old in Michigan was incarcerated during the coronavirus pandemic after a judge ruled that not completing her schoolwork violated her probation. “It just doesn’t make any sense,” said the girl’s mother.