TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – New Michigan law that prevents authorities from locking up teens under 18 near adults poses problems for communities that do not have a separate place to keep young people offenders.
Traverse City Police recently had to make arrangements with Macomb County – 250 miles away – to house a 16-year-old who was arrested in Florida for a local rage crime, the Record reported. Eagle.
“I made 25 calls to try to find a place for him,” said the sergeant. Matt Richmond said. “What I kept hearing was ‘Call back tomorrow.'”
Richmond said he had tried facilities near Traverse City but was unsuccessful. The reasons: no beds, teenagers from abroad not accepted, lack of staff.
Jason Smith, director of the Michigan Center for Youth Justice in Ann Arbor, said he had heard of the struggle to find places to detain some teenagers.
“I can’t explain why one community decides to fund one facility and another doesn’t,” Smith said. “But if Grand Traverse made the rounds and they landed on Macomb, if nothing was available closer to us, I think that’s a bigger question, a bigger story, of what’s going on. “
Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said having a place for juvenile offenders was a “huge need.”
“There are many times when these children have to be placed so far away, it prevents parents from visiting them,” she said.
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