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Bridge’s Lauren Gibbons honored for investigation into juvenile court fees

Lauren Gibbons headshot
  • Lauren Gibbons awarded for articles exposing how Michigan’s juvenile justice system imposes heavy costs on families
  • The work showed some families owed as much as $100,000

Bridge Michigan reporter Lauren Gibbons this week received a 2024 Wade H. McCree Advancement of Justice Award for her investigation into steep court fees in the juvenile justice system.

Bestowed by the Michigan Press Association Foundation, the award recognized Gibbons for articles demonstrating how Michigan drives families of youth offenders deep in debt by imposing costs on everything from their own detention to counseling.


Her reporting showed “thousands of families collectively owed millions of dollars in juvenile fees,” judges wrote in a statement, including families in Macomb County who owed an average of $87,000 apiece.

“Weeks after Gibbons published her report, the Michigan Legislature passed reforms eliminating most juvenile court fees.”


A Capitol reporter who covers politics and government, Gibbons received the award Sunday at a Michigan Press Association event that also enshrined Bridge former CEO John Bebow into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. 

The 50th annual McCree award is named after the Detroit jurist and scholar who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals and became the second African-American solicitor general in the United States.

Joining Gibbons as recipients of the award this year are reporters Kara Berg of The Detroit News, Andrea Sahouri of the Detroit Free Press and Heather Catallo of WXYZ-TV.

Along with Bebow, the Hall of Fame inducted restaurant reviewer Molly Abraham, WXYZ anchor Carolyn Clifford, Michigan State University journalism professor Eric Freedman, radio reporter Jeff Gilbert and Larry Lee of Gongwer News Service.

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