LaNeice Jones and her team at Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center (SWDCJC) work to fight injustice in their community and increase public trust in the justice system. SWDCJC operates the only Community Court Program in Michigan, a jail diversion program, that provides an opportunity for persons that commit low-level, non-violent, misdemeanor offenses in Southwest Detroit, to perform community service as restitution and not be incarcerated or re-arrested for minor offenses.
SWDCJC is committed to helping people returning from incarceration avoid jail and participate in a community court focused on restorative justice. This is a proven method of crime reduction, quality-of-life improvement, and community-building. With a high percentage of people returning from incarceration, many are then re-arrested for minor offenses.
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 20 percent budget cut from the state of Michigan, Jones wondered how she was going to pay her staff salaries – including her own. As one of only four employees, Jones worried most about the clients who needed their services.
With a PPP loan, Jones was able to minimize the impact of state budget cuts and pay salaries. Retaining staff enabled SWDCJC to continue managing cases and changing lives by transitioning the organization’s community programs to a virtual environment.