Program launches in Kent Co. to help reduce juvenile crime

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Kent County Prosecutor is hoping a new program will reduce convictions for juvenile offenders.

The 'Restorative Justice' program launched in Kent County in January.

The program is available to juveniles charged with crimes like destruction of property and larceny.  If the suspect is willing to admit to the crime, they will be set up with the Dispute Resolution Center and the the suspect and the victim will sit down with a mediator and come up with what they believe is an appropriate punishment for the crime.

Prosecutor Chris Becker says he saw the program have some good results in Iowa and decided to introduce it in Kent County. The hope is that it will prevent young criminals from continuing on with a life of crime.

Becker says that is has also helped victims be able to address suspects and tell them how the crime impacts their lives.