Senator John Proos sponsored and championed a bill that will help young Michiganders reclaim their lives and keep it on the right track. Senate Bill 0251, which was introduced on April 14, 2015, was finally signed by Governor Rick Snyder on June 20, 2016 and filed the next day.
This new law will allow a judge to refer a juvenile offender to an informal procedure called the "consent calendar" so that they are not forced to attend a regular court proceeding. At that point, they would be given access to resources and services that have a primary purpose of rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Sen. Proos stated that his goal was to create "an out of court process that doesn't criminalize these individuals, these young offenders, particularly in some of their first-time offenses, but instead puts people around them that helps them to understand the consequences of their actions, and gives them the best chance to succeed."
Sen. Proos also pointed out that the idea behind the law was brought to him by judges in southwest Michigan. Furthermore, it is only the first of several different reform bills that he hopes to see approved. These bills are designed to reduce crime and the prison population through community-building efforts.
Gov. Snyder's support for SB0251 will hopefully transfer over to these new bills as well. As he pointed out himself, "reinventing Michigan's criminal justice system is critically important, and this bill helps our judicial leaders assess penalties for juvenile offenders in a way that will hopefully lead to better long-term rehabilitation outcomes for our young people."