Adolescent Diversion Program - Supported by the Ann Arbor Area Commuinty Foundation Youth Council
Adolescent Diversion Programs are “Smart Justice:”
It is Time to Expand and Fund Them
By Professor Jennifer Kellman-Fritz, EMU
"To me the Adolescent Diversion Project gave me another chance at life, because of that, now I am in my community doing right instead of wrong. That is how ADP helped me get my life back. I also, like hanging out with my mentor and going to museums, basketball games, and she give me a better chance at school. A lot more kids I know should be able to have this program also." – 12 year old male participant in the ADP program
The turn from incarceration of young people to diversion programs is long overdue in Michigan. The state has prioritized trying adolescents as adults, sending many young people sent to state prison where they are put on a path to a careers of crime, unable to access needed educational services and employment opportunities after their release. The sheer cost of this system is staggering, with per person spending on prison far higher than that allotted for schools, universities, or virtually any other public service. Governor Snyder is correct in pointing to the savings that can come from diversion programs that keep first offenders out of prison and connect them to needed services; this is particularly true of adolescent offenders, who are young enough to be set on a better path through life, if only helped through programming, mentors, and access to social work and mental health services.
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