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Washtenaw County Prosecutor Grants Leniency To Low-Level Juveniles Offenders

(CBS DETROIT) – Washtenaw County's new prosecuting attorney is coming in with new plans on how to handle low-level juvenile offenders.

Prosecutor Eli Savit is wasting no time to drop charges against minors who made mistakes that don't threaten public safety.

"What the data shows us very, very clearly is that for young people, adolescence whose brains are still developing they are more susceptible to fear, they are more susceptible to trauma, and they are less likely to be deterred by the threat of criminal sanction," said Savit.

Savit issued a directive to refrain from charging juveniles for minor offences like truancy, tobacco and small-scale distribution or marijuana use.

The former eight-grade history teacher turned prosecutor says kids deserve to start off life with a clean slate.

"Sending a kid to a juvenile detention center in the long-term actually makes it more likely that they would commit future and more serious crimes," said Savit.

The directive states, "although a young person engages in risky criminal activity does not indicate that unlawful behavior will continue into adulthood."

"Involvement in the criminal legal system can often make things worse for a child and ultimately lead them to commit future acts that are far more serious, putting public safety at risk," said Savit.

A deviation from the policy will be issued if the offense jeopardizes public safety.

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