New Research: Health Analysis of Youth Arrest in Michigan

“I just remember thinking: oh God I can’t get arrested. I was small when I was a kid, and the police looked really big. I remember thinking: I’m not big enough to go where they are trying to take me.”

– Former Detroit resident who was arrested as a youth


Lansing, MI — Human Impact Partners and the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency released companion reports examining both Michigan youth arrests and diversion from formal court involvement. These new research reports add to the growing evidence that juvenile diversion works better than arrest and/or formal court adjudication. Juvenile diversion redirects youth, while still holding them accountable for their actions through strategies like community service, restitution and restorative justice.

One in three U.S youth have been arrested by the time they turn 23 years old. Those arrested as teens are 25% more likely to drop out of high school, have more risk for poor health, and are re-arrested more frequently. In Michigan, a young person’s chance of being arrested is based more on where they live, and often on their race/ethnicity, than on any real or perceived offense. The availability of services within their community also influences whether youth can avoid formal charges or not.

Key Findings
  • The arrest process can have negative mental and physical health impacts on youth.
  • Arresting youth can limit access to education, employment, and income.
  • Diverting youth before arrest decreases the likelihood of re-arrest.
  • Diversion should occur early and often.
  • Diversion should help drive down racial and ethnic disparities.
  • Diversion programs should offer family-centered interventions.


Read HIP’s Reducing Youth Arrests Keeps Kids Healthy and Successful report Fact Sheet.
Read HIP’s “Reducing Youth Arrests Keeps Kids Healthy and Successful” report.
Read the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency report, “Restoring Kids, Transforming Communities.” 


The work in this report was made possible by the generous funding of The W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Contact Kim Gilhuly ( with questions about this report or inquiries about HIP’s Health Instead of Punishment program.