WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (FOX 2) - A pilot program in three Michigan counties that provides people with the chance to work and have their criminal cases dismissed is searching for participants.
Wayne County has room for 200 people to be part of its job court, and 182 of those spots are unfilled.
Those with low-level, non-violent convictions can request to participate in the program, which will place them with a job that is a good fit. After a year of successfully working, their conviction will be dropped.
"Jobs court is an innovative program that checks all of the boxes: it's smart on crime, reduces the burden on our criminal justice system, puts offenders on a permanent path to success, helps our local businesses, and makes our communities safer," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said when the job court program was announced in 2021.
Of the 18 people currently participating in Wayne County, Prosecutor Kym Worthy said their average age is 30, and most of them were convicted of carrying a concealed weapon or lower-level drug crimes.
These participants are currently employed with Carpenters and Millwrights, Focus Hope, Bridgewater Interiors, Stellantis, Eaton Steel, and more.
Along with jobs, Worthy said participants will be provided with other resources to help address issues people with criminal records encounter. This includes addiction recovery resources, education, mental health services, food and clothing assistance, license restoration, transportation, and more.
"When people enter the Wayne County justice system, we want to make sure that they are successful," Worthy said.
Those interested in the program can get involved by having their attorney reach out to the prosecutor's office. Circumstances are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if the job court is appropriate for the person. Factors considered include past criminal history and potential impact on public safety.
If a person is accepted, their case is moved to the job court judge.
Employers interested in participating can apply here.