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Black teenager incarcerated for not doing her homework

Black teenager incarcerated for not doing her homework

Grace was sent to an adolescent detainment in Michigan, which has seen record-high COVID-19 cases among prisoners.

A Black high school sophomore was sent to a Michigan juvenile detention for neglecting to finish her online schoolwork. As indicated by a report by ProPublica, 15-year-old Grace, which the news outlet notes is the high schooler’s middle name, was detained after a judge found her failure to complete schoolwork to be a violation of her probation. Grace was sent to the detention center in May, despite the ongoing pandemic that continues to impact prisons and jails.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Grace’s mother told the outlet. “Every day I go to bed thinking and wake up thinking, ‘How is this a better situation for her?’”

Grace was charged with assault after her mother and her got into an argument on Nov. 6, ProPublica reports. Weeks after the fact, she was accused of robbery in the wake of taking another student’s cellphone from a school storage space.

Judge Mary Ellen Brennan requested that Grace be put on “serious probation,” which included schoolwork prerequisites, advising, a GPS tie, standard registration with her court case manager, and no entrance to a cellphone.

Nonetheless, similar to understudies around the nation, Grace’s tutoring became virtual this previous spring due to COVID-19. Her mom revealed to ProPublica that Grace experiences ADHD and was battling to remain concentrated on the online courses, however, was working with a specialized curriculum educator to make an assigned coaching plan.

“Who can even be a good student right now?” National Juvenile Justice Network Executive Director Ricky Watson Jr. told the outlet. “Unless there is an urgent need, I don’t understand why you would be sending a kid to any facility right now and taking them away from their families with all that we are dealing with right now.”

Grace’s case manager apparently documented an infringement of probation against her for not staying aware of her schoolwork before checking with Grace’s educator to confirm her school performance. In her choice to imprison Grace in adolescent detainment, Judge Brennan composed that the high schooler was a “threat to [the] community.”

“She hasn’t fulfilled the expectation with regard to school performance,” she said. “I told her she was on thin ice and I told her that I was going to hold her to the letter — to the order — of the probation.”

Back in March, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave an official request to prevent adolescents from being imprisoned because of probation infringement except if they presented “substantial and immediate safety risk to others.”

Michigan allegedly has perhaps the most noteworthy number of COVID-19 cases among detainees in the nation. The Michigan Department of Corrections has attempted to diminish case numbers by discharging a great many detainees, accelerating parole hearings, and re-imprisoning fewer individuals for specialized infringement.

However, ProPublica reports that in any event 24 young people have been put in confinement centers in Grace’s area since March and over half of them have likewise been Black youngsters. A month ago, an examination by the National Juvenile Defender Center demonstrated that a lopsided number of African American youths are imprisoned in the state.

“It is clear that kids of color are disproportionately involved and impacted by the system across the board,” Michigan Center for Youth Justice’s Jason Smith said. “They are more likely to be arrested, less likely to be offered any kind of diversion, more likely to be removed out of the home and placed in some sort of confinement situation.”

Chance is right now at Children’s Village — a “secure detention” that provides “residential treatment and shelter care services,” the facility’s website notes. A hearing to review her case is set for Sept. 8.

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