Under a new pilot program in Wayne County, some low-level, non-violent offenders would be given jobs in lieu of jail time.
Two hundred criminals would be eligible for Job Court in the county every year, and the diversionary program would be at the discretion of both prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she believes it will lead to a drop in recidivism and be restorative.
“Most crime victims never see the restitution that they’re owed, but through this program, we’re going to make sure that where there is money owed to people…that money is going to be paid back,” Nessel said at a press conference. “How do we know that? Because we know you got a job.”
Job Court was announced last year and the Michigan Legislature has appropriated nearly $5 million to the pilot programs in Wayne, Genesee and Marquette counties.
Nessel revealed some employers have asked for certain types of crimes to be ineligible for job court.
“A lot of the theft and dishonesty related offenses like retail fraud, embezzlement and larceny will likely not be accepted,” shared Nessel.
Nessel hopes state lawmakers choose to make the programs permanent and would like to expand them to other parts of Michigan. She says the program is all about giving people a second chance to make the right decision.
“The most dangerous person out there is a person who has nothing to lose, and we want to give them something to lose and as a good paying job with benefits,” states Nessel.