As a Michigan Court Reverses a Disgraceful Miscarriage of Justice by Freeing ‘Grace,’ Moms Group Demands End to Over-Criminalization of Black Youth
“Prison is no place for a kid. The Michigan Court of Appeals acted wisely and with common sense and compassion on Friday by ordering the immediate release of ‘Grace’ from a youth prison. It was a cruel, terribly harsh miscarriage of justice to imprison a teen with special needs for missing homework assignments and a painful example of the over-criminalization of Black youth in this country.
“Fifteen-year-old ‘Grace’ had been held at the juvenile detention facility since mid-May for violating the terms of her probation, which required her to keep up with her schoolwork. ‘Grace’ has ADHD and she fell behind because she struggled with online learning. When schools closed due to COVID-19, she did not have access to the in-person teacher support that had long helped her succeed in school and was required by her Individualized Education Plan. She had near-perfect attendance and was doing well before the pandemic.
“Rather than providing the services and supports ‘Grace’ clearly needed, the judge chose to put her in prison. The toxic culture of criminalizing children must end. Students across the country have struggled with online learning, and no child should ever be jailed for missing homework assignments. Grace suffered and her mother suffered horribly, and too many other children – and especially those who are Black or Brown – are suffering because they have been unjustly and unnecessarily detained.
“We must end the racialized practice of arresting and prosecuting children and the over-criminalization of our youth.”