New Genesee County Pilot Program Helps People Avoid Jail Time Through Jobs

Photo via Pixabay

By Karel Vega

June 21, 2023

Along with employment and a chance to have their charges dismissed after completing the program, participants will also have access to services like addiction and recovery therapy.

A new Genesee County pilot program launched this week to help some people charged with low-level criminal offenses avoid jail time by pairing them with a job.

Job Court will match 150 eligible participants, selected by the county prosecutor, with an employer and a case worker. Those who complete the one-year program can have their criminal charges dismissed.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the program is smart on crime and aims to reduce recidivism while helping local businesses.

“It reduces the burden on our criminal justice system, puts offenders on a permanent path to success, helps our local businesses, and will make our communities safer,” Nessel said.

Job Court also helps participants with other services, including:

  • Addiction and recovery therapy
  • Mental and behavioral health services
  • Educational literacy and testing
  • Transportation services
  • Food and clothing assistance
  • Identification / driver’s license restoration
  • Assistance with benefits (SNAP, Medicaid, WIC)

The program will only accept individuals with certain low-level, non-violent offenses. Some disqualifying non-violent offenses include retail fraud, embezzlement, and larceny.

This is the second Job Court program launched in the state. Marquette County launched its Job Court in April, and Wayne County will launch its program later this month.

The Michigan Legislature has appropriated nearly $5 million for the Job Court Pilot Program.

Interested employers can visit the Michigan Attorney General’s Job Court website for more information.

Author

  • Karel Vega

    Coming from a long background in public radio, Karel Vega strives to find stories that inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The ‘Gander, Karel served as managing editor at WKAR, the NPR affiliate in East Lansing, Michigan.

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