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Group urges more to fix crisis at Detroit Juvenile Center

David McNew
Getty Images

Advocates for incarcerated minors say the crisis at Wayne County's Juvenile Detention Center needs urgent action.

The Detroit Free Press reports many young offenders have spent several days in a row locked in their cells, without showers or exercise.

That's because there's not enough staff to supervise them.

Jason Smith heads the Michigan Center for Youth Justice.

He says the detention center found alternatives to locking kids up early in the pandemic, such as home confinement.

"Placement of youth in secure detention should be limited to young people who are an immediate and significant safety risk either to themselves or others.  Beyond that, they should not be in detention." said Smith.

Wayne County says it plans to transfer some of the juveniles to an empty adult facility.

State officials say more funding is on the way to boost staffing levels.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.