MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Michigan’s Job Court Pilot Program is the first of its kind in the nation, and the Marquette office is the first of three to open in Michigan.
The Job Court is a prosecutorial diversion pilot program that aims to reduce the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend. This pilot program will also assist local organizations by providing participants with employment and overall getting back on their feet.
“So many defendants and so may clients that were wholly unprepared to get a job– it’s not that they didn’t want a job, and it’s not that they didn’t want to make an honest living, it’s just that they didn’t have the skillset,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel.
“I think some of the important opportunities are a sense of purpose, which is really important for people. They may find a way to be grounded and really be comfortable with some of the skills that they’re going to develop,” said Director of Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights Brian Kerrigan.
Similar to the Job court Program, the Michigan Department of Corrections Vocational Villages program gives prison inmates an opportunity to develop a career path. Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights partnered with the MDOC back in 2016 and has seen quite a promising success rate.
“Can you say off hand what the recidivism rate is? Zero. Zero percent in Vocational Village,” continued A.G. Nessel, meaning no one that has gone into that Vocational Village program and becomes a carpenter or millwright has committed another crime.
In order to qualify for the Job Court Pilot Program, the participants must have been charged with low-level, non-assaultive offenses and be recommended by the prosecutor. Evaluations will be made on a case-by-case basis, considering employment suitability, criminal activity and potential impact on public safety.
“Most of the people now impacted by this– they want to be contributing members and have a productive role in this, but there has been challenges along the way that have kept them from getting there,” continued Kerrigan.
“It puts offenders on a permanent path to success, helps out local business, and it makes our communities safer,” continued A.G. Nessel.
Job Court participants who successfully complete the one-year program will be provided with the opportunity to dismiss their eligible charges and on a path to a successful future.
Click here for more information on Michigan’s Job Court Pilot Program.