Sobriety Court at 52-1 District wins state certification

The Sobriety Court program at Oakland County 52-1 District Court in Novi is the first in Michigan to be certified by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO).

The certification indicates that the sobriety court has met or exceeded the standards set by the SCAO after a stringent evaluation. The SCAO also certified 52-1 District Court’s Drug Court program. These certifications mean 52-1 District Court will be able to apply to the Michigan Supreme Court for grants to support its specialty courts.

“Our sobriety and drug court programs are successful because of the collaborative effort of our staff and community partners,” 52-1 District Court Presiding Judge Travis Reeds said. “This certification by the SCAO means we’ll be able to enhance our specialty courts by applying for grants.”

The Sobriety Court program at 52-1 District Court began in 2001. After seeing the success of many graduates, 52-1 District Court implemented a veterans court program in 2009 and a drug court program in 2013 to respond to the opiate epidemic.

Sobriety courts evolved to address the revolving-door through which drug and alcohol offenders moved in and out of the justice system. These specialty courts treat addiction as a complex disease and provide a comprehensive, sustained continuum of therapeutic interventions, treatment, and other services to increase a participant's periods of abstinence and reduce the rate of relapse, re-arrest, and incarceration.

The Michigan Supreme Court published its “Solving Problems, Saving Lives” report in fiscal year 2017. Some of its findings indicated that drug/sobriety court graduates were nearly two times less likely to reoffend after two years; unemployment among adult drug court graduates dropped by more than half; and 90% of juvenile drug court graduates improved their education level upon successfully completing a program, among other successful findings.

“When you look at the data, you begin to get a picture of how the specialty courts are improving the community one graduate at a time,” Reeds said. “This is especially noteworthy because May is Drug Court Awareness Month.”

Oakland County Commissioner Phil Weipert, whose district encompasses 52-1 District Court, presented a proclamation from the board of commissioners to mark the achievements of all specialty courts throughout the county. The SCAO has not yet certified any veterans court programs in Michigan but is expected to in the future.

To learn more about 52-1 District Court, go to OakGov.com, select “Courts” from the Department dropdown menu, then click on the link for 52nd District Courts.

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