Detroit to Apply Rarely Used ‘Parental Responsibility’ Statute


Noting a 25% increase in juvenile crime in the last year, Detroit police and judges say they will begin enforcing a little-used parental responsibility statute that has been on the books since 1987, reports the Detroit Free Press. Repeat offenders may face fines up to $500 and 90 days in jail. “It’s not the Police Department’s responsibility to raise somebody’s child,” Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said. “We’re just trying to make parents responsible for a duty that is not only required by law, but by nature.”

Dozens of cities in the country have such laws, including Chicago and Cincinnati. In metro Detroit, Dearborn, Taylor, Warren and Southfield have so-called parental responsibility ordinances. Though Detroit’s law has been on the books for nearly two decades, it has been used only occasionally and mostly for truancy and curfew violations, said police spokesman James Tate. That’s also been the case in other communities in the area with such laws on their books.


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