New day for Oakland County in Prosecutor's Office

On her first day in office, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced several key priorities for her new administration. Heading up McDonald’s agenda will be a robust focus on juvenile justice in Oakland County, addressing issues of mass incarceration, prosecutorial fairness, and racial equality.

McDonald stated, “We need to start treating kids like kids. The science is clear: children’s brains are not fully-developed until they are in their mid-20s, and it’s time we acknowledge that and act on it.”

In a message to the entire staff of the Prosecutor’s Office, McDonald said, “My goal is to empower the attorneys in my office to use discretion and treat each case before us individually to ensure fair and equal justice for everyone in Oakland County.”

McDonald also outlined the core principles, which will guide her administration of the Prosecutor’s Office, stating: “The number-one priority of our office will always be the safety of our communities in Oakland County.

“Incarceration, whether pre-trial or at sentencing, for low-level, non-violent offenses does not make our communities safer. For all but the most-serious offenses, we will look for diversion or other non-carceral options, which are both more cost-effective and beneficial in both economic and human terms. That will include Oakland County’s direct participation in treatment courts.

“Finally, fairness and equality are paramount. Bonds, plea negotiations, and sentences sought by this office will never depend on how wealthy a defendant is, where they live, or the color of their skin.”

McDonald has committed to rolling out these changes as quickly as possible because, as she said, “Fair and equal justice in Oakland County cannot wait.”

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