Juvenile Justice

Judge won't release teen detained for failing to do homework while on probation

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A Michigan teenager will remain in juvenile detention after violating probation by refusing to do her online schoolwork.

Judge Mary Ellen Brennan of the Oakland County Family Court Division denied a motion to release the 15-year-old girl Monday, report the Detroit News and ProPublica Illinois.

Brennan told the girl that she is “blooming” in juvenile detention, but “there is more work to be done,” according to ProPublica Illinois, which published the initial story on the teenager’s detention.

The teenager had been placed on probation in April, with the requirement that she complete her schoolwork. The teenager had been accused of biting her mother’s finger and pulling her hair and of stealing another student’s cellphone.

A case worker had recommended that the girl complete a treatment program at the facility that would last another three and a half months.

The girl said she is ready to go home, according to ProPublica Illinois.

“I know I can control myself,” she told the judge. “That altercation should not be defining who I should be now.”

During the court hearing Monday, Brennan defended her decision to send the teenager to juvenile detention.

“She was not detained because she didn’t turn her homework in,” Brennan said. “She was detained because I found her to be a threat of harm to her mother based on everything I knew.”

The Michigan Liberation Action Fund protested outside the courthouse. The executive director of another group, the Michigan Center for Youth Justice, criticized the detention in a press release.

“Here is another instance of where a youth on probation was put in a confined setting for a behavior that is not a crime,” said Mary King, executive director of Michigan Center for Youth Justice.

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