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Wolverine Boot Camp

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
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Bob Maxfield, interim dean of the School of Education at Oakland University, noted that years ago, Children's Village of Oakland County had a successful boot camp operated through the court system. "The money for these kinds of services has dried up, leaving youths and young adults with nothing but getting locked up somewhere," Maxfield said. "My opinion is, the more we have for them, the better. Putting teens in prison is reprehensible. School districts and local colleges can help. When I was superintendent with Farmington Schools, we helped with Children's Village, as well as Boys' and Girls' Republic, which doesn't exist anymore, that used to be a residential facility on Nine Mile. Farmington Schools provided the educational aspect."

The Wolverine proposal states the educational service provider will be Bay Mills Community College, out of Saginaw, but Mouradian said she currently could not confirm that.

While this would technically not be a juvenile boot camp, Marlin said that most offenders who come into the corrections system are a younger demographic, between the ages 18 and 22.

By state statute, MCL 400.1303, only the department of corrections "shall establish one or more juvenile boot camps to house or train juveniles who are ordered to participate in a juvenile boot camp program after commitment under that section to a county juvenile agency for placement." Further, MCL 400.1304 states that the program "shall provide a program of physically strenuous work and exercise, patterned after military basic training, and other programming as the department determines, including at a minimum educational and substance abuse programs, and counseling. A juvenile boot camp program shall be restricted to juveniles of the same sex."

Cooper stated that the Wolverine Project, if it ever gets off the ground, must deal with offenders older than 18, because "juvenile facilities must have a license from the Department of Human Services," she said. "No non-governmental agency can be licensed, per DHS. It can't be an overnight treatment, only a daytime treatment center."

However, Marlin said the Wolverine Campus Project could fall under the Prisoner Reimbursement to the County Act of 1984, which states that a county can seek reimbursement of up to $60 a day per prisoner for the cost of maintaining a prisoner.

"I told Ralph (Kinney) and the Wolverine people there is a need for this, and a need to house these people. They can do it cheaper than we can. We're more geared for longer sentences. Our average sentence is 4.5 years, and our average cost per inmate is $34,000," Marlin said. "If a local judge is going to sentence someone for only a year, maybe it would make more sense for them to stay in their local community."

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