To: The Michigan State House, The Michigan State Senate, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer
A civilized society doesn't put children in prison with adults
Children under the age of 18 should be diverted to rehabilitation programs and not incarcerated alongside adults in Michigan.
Why is this important?
Michigan is one of only a handful of states that locks up juvenile offenders under the age of 18 alongside the adult prison population, often for non-violent offenses.
A recent investigation by the Huffington Post found a system rife with abuse and horrific treatment of children by guards and fellow inmates throughout Michigan.
They found instances of children as young as 16 forced to share cells with adults where they were repeatedly subjected to sexual abuse. Or corrections officers, totally untrained in dealing with adolescents, forcibly restraining teens on slabs of concretes for days at a time. And a penal system, all the way from the county prosecutor to the attorney general, stacked against the poor and young people of color.
Here's how Huffington Post Editor Ryan Grim summarized the shocking abuses: "The overincarceration of people in American society has reached pathological levels, but for the same treatment to be meted out to children demands immediate intervention. Liberals, conservatives and libertarians are all coming together to call for comprehensive criminal justice reform, and the movement's progress is impressive and hopeful. But there is a long way to go, and these kids can't wait."
The findings of this investigation are a national disgrace and Michigan lawmakers should move quickly to end these abuses. A civilized society doesn't put children in prison with adults.