Committee to address juvenile detention shortage

ALPENA — A new state committee announced on Thursday could help Alpena courts find juvenile detention center beds and help for kids struggling with mental illness.

Facing a shortage of juvenile detention centers in the state, Alpena court officials and jail administrators recently expressed interest in a possible addition to the Alpena County Jail to house juvenile offenders.

That potential project — and a planned makeover of space at the Presque Isle County Jail to house juveniles for up to a weekend — could alleviate the strain many counties currently face in trying to house juvenile offenders after multiple Michigan detention centers closed in recent years.

On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the formation of a Juvenile Residential Facilities Advisory Committee to study the juvenile housing shortage and recommend fixes.

The committee will look for ways to improve access to mental health treatment for young people and address the shortage of juvenile detention centers, a news release from the Governor’s Office said.

The committee will include representatives from the juvenile justice community, prosecutors, defense attorneys, county-level court personnel and government leaders, and mental health advocates, according to the release.

People interested in appointment to the committee can apply at michigan.gov/whitmer/appointments.


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