New Juvenile Diversion Program Launched In Calhoun County

The county where the city of Battle Creek sits just launched a new juvenile diversion program. Called ASPIRE, the program is aimed at juveniles who are accused of misdemeanor crimes who are users of drugs, alcohol and even tobacco. The recent rise of vaping has led to a bigger focus on the abuse of tobacco, this coincides with the recent age increase from 18 to 21 to be able to legally purchase or use tobacco products. ASPIRE stands for Adolescence Substance Abuse Programming Through Innovative Recovery Education. Being successful in this program can keep a juvenile out of the justice system while keeping their criminal record clean.

What Happens In A Diversionary Program?

A diversionary program is a program typically designed for first time offenders for specific types of crimes. In the state of Michigan there are state mandated diversionary programs that range from Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) cases all the way to a first-time charge of Domestic Violence. The program will set a specific focus on behavior areas that need to be brought under control or stopped completely. Expect things like alcohol and drug testing and counseling, anger management classes, and community service, etc. There is typically a period of probation in which the offender will have to meet these specific requirements in order to be successful. If the person completes the program successfully, they will end up with a dismissal of the original charge and keep a clean criminal record.

Who Is Eligible For This New Program?

ASPIRE is open to youths between the ages of 11 and 16 where drug or alcohol use is a contributing factor in their alleged crime. The crimes are typically lower level misdemeanors where involving possession of illegal substances, theft crimes, and even low-level assaultive crimes. If the youth is accepted into the program, they will be sent to Grace Health, a private clinic in Battle Creek for an assessment. They will undergo counseling and treatment once the assessment is completed. Youths in the diversionary program will also join in programs at New Level Sports in Battle Creek or for Marshall Opportunity High School those living closer to Marshall and Albion. It is expected that the program will have around 10 juveniles per month admitted into the program. That is over 100 cases a year where juvenile offenders will have the chance to keep their criminal record clean. The Calhoun County Prosecutors Office has prosecuted just over 400 juveniles in the last two years. This program could help cut that number of convictions significantly. This is a big step towards helping these kids maintain a positive future, and out of the criminal justice system.

What Does The Program Cost?

ASPIRE will not cost the juvenile offender or their family anything extra. This is intended to be a free alternative to regular probation. Also, no government money will be used for this new program at all. The assessments done at Grace Health will be covered by already-existing insurance whether government or private. The other programs that the juvenile would enter would also be free of charge. ASPIRE will also compensate the victims of these crimes; again, these aren’t expected to be large amounts of money since they are lower level crimes. ASPIRE is designed to help kids be successful without adding additional obstacles for them.

What About My Case?

Do you or a loved one qualify for ASPIRE or a similar diversionary program somewhere else in the state? There are many diversionary programs just like this one which may be available to you. It is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney with the experience and knowledge to able to assist you best. Our attorneys at Grabel & Associates have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing juveniles both in Calhoun County all over the state of Michigan. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with any questions regarding ASPIRE or any other type of juvenile case. Criminal defense is all we do, and we are available anytime to answer your questions. Feel free to call us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896, contact us online, or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can even come to you.

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