Bipartisan Press Event Focuses on Juvenile Justice Reform

Lawmakers discuss legislation moving from committee to full House
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
State Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) testifies before the House Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, on legislation to reform juvenile justice in Michigan. With him is state Rep. Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township), who also sponsored a bill in the package.

LANSING — House Democratic Whip Robert Kosowski (D-Westland), along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, held a press conference this morning to discuss a juvenile justice reform bill package now headed to the House floor. The conference was held following the House Criminal Justice Committee meeting, during which time the package of bills, one of which Kosowski introduced.

“What we’ve seen today is that giving our kids a better shot at success isn’t a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans came together and crafted legislation that will help Michigan’s children,” Kosowski said. “Intervening in the life of a teenager who is struggling or making mistakes is crucial if done at the right time. This legislation will help us do just that.”

Kosowski’s bill, House Bill 4963, would require the State Court Administrative Office to report the number of youth offenders charged as adults, along with their demographic information, offense committed, sentence received and recidivism rate. Using this information, lawmakers and criminal justice stakeholders can make informed decisions and better target resources toward prevention.

“Putting juvenile offenders in prison with hardened adult criminals is unlikely to be the best approach at turning around that troubled young person,” Kosowski said. “With the information that my legislation will provide, we will see exactly what effects this processes causes, and how we can improve our approach and, in turn, improve the lives of youth across our state.”